Round Table started with just one man’s idea. Louis Marchesi was a member of Rotary in but had the brainwave of starting a new organisation for young men between the ages of 18-45.
Round Table was born with the motto ‘Adopt, Adapt, Improve’ and from small beginnings of one club in Norwich Louis’ dream has become a reality, with over 1,000 clubs and 13,000 members.
Round Tables operate individually but with a common cause, and together they form The National Association of Round Tables of Great Britain and Ireland. But that’s not all.. Round Table exists throughout the world and has links with like-minded clubs internationally.
Round Table History
A second Round Table was established in Portsmouth and subsequent growth was rapid, with 125 Tables and a membership of 4,600 by the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Round Table proved it had international appeal with the first overseas Table formed in Copenhagen in 1936. During the war years Round Table in Denmark continued to expand although in the British Isles activity was restricted and was in the nature of a ‘holding operation’.
After 1945 the pattern of growth was rapidly re-established with Tables being ‘chartered’ all over the UK. Today there are about 1,000 Tables with a membership of around 13,000. Round Table now flourishes in the majority of European countries, throughout Africa, the Middle East, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and America. In fact Round Table is represented in every continent of the World.
Round Table owes nothing to Arthurian Legend, deriving both its title and its maxim from a speech made to the British Industries Fair in 1927 by the then Prince of Wales – ‘The young business and professional men of this country must get together round the table, ADOPT methods that have proved so sound in the past, ADAPT them to the changing needs of the times and wherever possible,
The phrase ADOPT, ADAPT, IMPROVE is a key facet of the organisation and is often seen on Round Table literature and regalia.
The design of the Round Table emblem is, however, an adaptation of the table which hangs in the Great Hall in Winchester. Although this is claimed to be the Round Table of the mythical court of King Arthur, it is in fact a representation which was made in the 13th century.
Another facet of Round Table, rarely acknowledged even by its members but of great importance to the individual, is the opportunity it provides for members to broaden their experience, to express themselves with clarity, to learn the art of leadership and to enhance their role as responsible citizens and to form lasting friendships.