History of IWC
HISTORY OF INNER WHEEL CLUB
Mrs. Oliver Golding (nee Margarette Golding) in 1923 took the first step to form an organization called the Inner Wheel, which today is considered as one of the largest organizations of women in the world. The objects of the Club are to promote friendship, to encourage ideals of personal service and to foster international understanding. Of Welsh origin, a trained nurse, Margarette Golding served as such during the First World War. It may well be that her years of service in the nursing profession triggered off a deep desire to help all ailing and the deprived in the community.
Inner Wheel was officially founded in January 1924 by Margarette Golding, who had met with 26 other women with similar enthusiasm in the service of the deprived. The first meeting was held on 10 January 1924. This date is now known as ‘International Inner Wheel Day’.
Within less than a year the membership had doubled and many successful projects had been undertaken. With the news of the achievements of the Club having spread, by 1927 five more clubs had been formed in Great Britain and Ireland.
Formation of Districts and Association of Inner Wheel Clubs:
A feeling gradually arose that there ought to be some sort of unification for existing clubs. The first Inner Wheel District 5 was formed with Mrs. Margarette Golding as the speaker. Gradually other groups formed themselves into Inner Wheel Clubs and on 6th May 1934 the Association of Inner Wheel Clubs in Great Britain and Ireland was formed.
Manchester Inner Wheel Club is rightly called the ‘Mother of them all’. Inner Wheel started spreading across the globe gradually.
Since 1936, newly formed clubs started getting the Charter – Certificate of Membership.
Some Clubs were formed in other parts of the world, having heard about the Inner Wheel Association in Great Britain and Ireland - such as Ballarat in 1931, North Sydney in 1933 and Bendigo in 1933 in Australia and in Bergen, Norway in 1935.
In the following years, more Inner Wheel Clubs were formed, for example, the Napier Club (1936) in New Zealand, Port Elizabeth (1938) in South Africa, Winnipeg (1943) in Canada and Apeldoorn, Holland (1946). From there on Inner Wheel continued to expand globally, with the formation of at least 15 Clubs in remote places.
Formation of International Inner Wheel:
The Association began to change from a national (Great Britain and Ireland) organization to a worldwide organization, as it was felt that a closer connection was necessary. Thus in 1947 the words ‘in Great Britain and Ireland’ were removed from the title, and Inner Wheel became known as the ‘Overseas' Clubs.
In the early sixties, the Association, mindful of the increasing number of Clubs outside GB&I, and glad to have Districts formed in Europe, gave much thought about ways to make Inner Wheel more International in governing; the need for personal contact to be made with some more remote Clubs was felt. The first steps towards the creation of an International Governing Body were taken in 1962 during the Association Conference, held in Blackpool, England, when a resolution was approved, to include on the Governing Body, representatives from Districts of the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Denmark. This resolution was put in place for the first time at Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, at the Annual Assembly for Officers, when members from countries outside Great Britain and Ireland were invited to sit on the Governing Body.
On the 1st of July 1967 all Clubs became Members of International Inner Wheel. International Inner Wheel is the administrative body that acts as the umbrella for the organization worldwide.
The first Board Meeting was held in Copenhagen on the 3rd, 4th October 1967. Mrs. Lavender Weightman became the first President; there was then the opportunity for qualified members, from any country, to become Officers - President, Vice-President and Treasurer. One of the important tasks was to approve National By-Laws, so that all the Countries, while remaining faithful to the Constitution, could interpret Inner Wheel with their own culture and traditions.
In 1967 National Governing Bodies/Associations were recognized in Australia, Denmark, Great Britain and Ireland, India, The Netherlands, Norway, The Philippines and Sweden.
In 1970 the First Convention of International Inner Wheel was held at The Hague, the Netherlands. International Inner Wheel was, and is, supported by a Governing Body, which, up to 1993, included an elected Executive Committee with Officers - President, Vice President, Immediate Past President and Treasurer; and also Board Members - representatives from every Country, possessing the necessary qualifications as laid down in the Constitution and Handbook. Each Board Member had a number of votes equivalent to the number of Districts of her Country.
In 1993 it was agreed to restructure the Governing Body with an elected Executive Committee (consisting of the Officers), plus 16 elected Board Directors, each of whom had the right to one vote and also have the responsibility to be in contact with the Non-Districted Clubs.
In 2006 the Chairman of the Constitution Committee was admitted as a member of the Governing Body of International Inner Wheel. Then in 2012 she was admitted as a member of the Executive Committee.
A notable landmark in IW History took place in 2012, at the 15th Convention in Istanbul, where members voted to open up membership. Women, who had no connection to Rotarians or Inner Wheel members, could now be invited to join Inner Wheel.
Today Inner Wheel is present in 104 different countries, with over 108,000 members worldwide, having 3,895 clubs, and is structured in Clubs, Districts and National Governing Bodies. It connects together members of Clubs in the various nations, from Europe to Africa, India, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, United States of America and Canada and many others, all working to uphold the objects of Inner Wheel.
To be continued ……. Inner Wheel in India