The City Business Club was founded out of the Nottingham Efficiency Club, formed in 1915. During trips to the USA, founder President Mr J G McMeeking had seen the success enjoyed by luncheon clubs and, following advice and information from clubs in London and Glasgow, Nottingham businessmen eagerly accepted the concept. In 1924 the initial membership was 35 young men paying subscriptions of 12 shillings. They committed themselves to 2 basic targets:
- to promote and discuss all matters pertaining to the business and social interests of members
- to arrange fortnightly luncheons and invite prominent men and members to speak on matters of commercial interest.
These founding principles have been retained as the purposes of the Club throughout its history.
The first lunch meeting attracted 14 people, but by the time of the official inaugural lunch at the Mikado Café, the City Business Club's Council had adopted a slogan, making use of the Club's initials – "Creating Better Commerce". By "better" they meant not profit, but real service.
Within a year of that lunch the membership had topped 100 and within 2 years, the then Minster of Health Mr Neville Chamberlain spoke to a record audience of 230.
The Club went from strength to strength throughout the 30s, its only dubious period perhaps coming in 1937 when Oswald Moseley was invited to speak. That event had to be rearranged several times because of concerns about disruption from demonstrations and eventually on the recommendation of the Police, and the Mikado Café's inability to obtain insurance, the invitation was withdrawn.
As the War ended the Club turned its attentions to winning the peace, and the opportunities for industry. In 1949, the Club celebrated its first 25 years with a special Anniversary luncheon, with chicken served as a special treat.
1957 saw Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt address to the Business Club after paying a civic call to the Council House and she then dashed off to London to meet the Queen. The link to the Roosevelt family continues today – in 2009, the Club's Council hosted Mrs Roosevelt's grandson Haven at a celebratory lunch as part of the Club's 85th anniversary celebrations.
The question as to whether the Club should admit ladies seems to have first been raised in 1972. The Minutes record that the Council's concern being that the Constitution expressly referred to business men. Incredibly it took until 1989 before women were admitted to membership for the first time, but it did not then take very long before the Club had its first woman President in 1992.
The 80s saw several famous names speaking at the Club - Edwina Currie and Deborah Devonshire amongst them.
In 1989 the Club formed an affiliation with the Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which lasted until 2006, since when the Club has been assisted by commercial sponsors including the Wilson Organisation, Roythornes Solicitors and Mazars.
The key characteristics of the Club are unchanged from the founding years. We have never been about simply doing business with each other, but have a greater and more altruistic aim to see better business done. Members are encouraged to build lasting relationships, and many friendships are founded on trust and a common aim to give business in Nottingham a sense of community.
Find out more Creating better commerce.
The Nottingham City Business Club (NCBC) was founded in 1924, with Mr J G McMeeking as its first president.
At May's lunch, President Mark Deakin welcomes Mike Sassi, publisher and editor of the Nottingham Post
Our lunch meetings are held on the third Friday of each month (excluding August) at the design-led, four-star Park Plaza Hotel on Maid Marian Way in Nottingham.