Wimbledon Circle (No. 33) was the first London suburban circle. It was inaugurated, with the name Thames Valley Circle, by Grand President Brother Henry T. Sandy on 9 May 1918 - assisted by Brother T. Baines. Nineteen Brothers transferred to the new Circle and three candidates were formally enrolled into the Association. The Founder President was Brother A.C.J. Charlier - a post he held for four years. One of the Founder Members was Brother P. Briggs, who became Grand President 1929-1931.
The Circle flourished and grew in numbers from the start. By 1923 there were 84 Brothers, a figure that, although approached, has never been equalled since. One reason for this has been the number of Circles opened in the Greater London area, as exemplified by the creation of our Province 19 in 1958, beginning with about 12 Circles and now having 20. Wimbledon Circle took an active interest in the formation of new Circles at Sutton, Croydon, Richmond & Twickenham, Guildford (both the present and the original, now West Surrey), Wandsworth & Putney (now London South West) and Epsom.All these Circles are pre World War II, and subsequent to 1945, Esher, Weybridge and Kingston-on-Thames Circles were formed, with Wimbledon providing Founder Presidents for the last two. These developments resulted in the name of the Circle being changed in 1928 to Wimbledon & District, and again in 1932 to Wimbledon.
Inaugurated during World War I as we were, it was felt inappropriate to organise any elaborate social function and the first dinner of the Circle was held on 13 January 1919 at Wimbledon Hill Hotel, (now known as The Dog and Fox) - the cost being seven and sixpence each. This was reported in "The Tablet" the next week; for details see below. The second annual dinner caused some discord as, due to restricted accommodation, only Brothers and male friends were admitted. Not to be disheartened, the following year the event was upgraded to "Town", the venue being Harrods' Georgian Restaurant, wives were admitted, and the cost, twelve and sixpence, to include wine and all beverages. A loss of £1 11s 11d was incurred. This of course was much before the time of the late Brother Larry Posthuma (our Treasurer for many years), who had just celebrated his third birthday!
As befitted a Circle founded during a war, our forebears were a militant bunch - in 1923 rejecting unanimously a proposed new set of bye-laws, submitted by Grand Council and countering with their own. Complaints concerning late publication of the Year Book (now the National Directory) began in 1919. By 1922, Catena first experienced our stern criticism. Activities of course have not been confined to hostile comment. The Midsummer Gathering - a social and sports occasion which flourished from 1930 to 1937 - owed its inception to Wimbledon, attracting attendances of 400 on an inter-provincial basis.
During World War II a handful of Brothers kept the Circle alive, although regular monthly meetings were not possible, otherwise, we would have reached our 1000th meeting a good deal earlier. Post-war years saw a resurgence in the strength of the Circle - although slowly following the founding of neighbouring Circles. Socially, dances were held to assist local organisations, which served also a further purpose in enabling young Catholics to meet one another. 1990 saw the Circle literally "go to the dogs" - Wimbledon Greyhound dogs that is - in a very successful effort to raise funds for charity - with an inter-Circle competition which sadly foundered after that one year.
The Golden Jubilee meeting of the Circle in 1968, celebrating 50 years since inauguration, was attended by 40 members of the Circle and 131 visitors from 27 circles, including 18 Presidents. Contrast that with our 100th meeting on 9 September 1926, attended by 28 Brothers plus 1 visitor. Our 800th meeting in February 1987 was celebrated with a superb Banquet and Ball, attended by 200 at the All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club Wimbledon - the first occasion that an outside organisation had been granted permission to use the Club's private Debenture Holders Lounge. In June 1995 our 900th meeting passed by fairly quietly but our 1000th meeting and celebrations in October 2004, with Mass at the Sacred Heart Curch and a banquet at Epsom Race Course's Blue Riband Suite, were a very happy and memorable series of events. Over ninty years have passed since Wimbledon Circle was born and we celebrated our 90th birthday meeting in style on 9th May 2008 - the year of the Association's centenary. After an excellent banquet we received a stimulating address from (now the late) Sir Michael Quinlan on The Role of the Catholic in Society (A copy of which may be had, on rquest, from the web-master).
The Circle Centenary was marked in 2018 with three events. May the ninth was the precise date and there was a mid-day Mass at Sacred Heart Church, celebrated by Canon John Clarke (the Parish priest) with Canon Colm Acton (friend of the Circle). This was followed by a lunch, designed for those who can no longer attend evening meetings, including widows of Circle members. Bishop Emeritus Howard Tripp also attended. The scheduled meeting that month (Thursday the thirtyfirst) was our 'Centenary meeting' at which we enroled three new members into the Circle and the Association. It was preceeded by Mass in the church celebrated for us by Fr Michael Holman SJ and followed by a reception for Brother John Hogan, Chairman of the Great Britain National Council, and Brothers from around Province 19. The third event wss a Gala Dinner at the prestigious Roehampton Club in September, where about 100 persons listened to Bro John Hogan and Bishop Nicholas Hudson.
The Foundation Meeting of the Wimbledon Circle 33 (then known as the Thames
Valley Circle 33) took place at the Wimbledon Hill Hotel on Thursday the 9th May
1918 Present :
The Grand President, Bro. Henry T Sandy
Grand Director, Bro. Thomas Baines
Grand Treasurer, Bro. Bernard Heylwn
(Being the delegates appointed by Grand Council to conduct the opening of the new Circle.)
Also the following members of Association, who had intimated their intention
to join the new Circle:-
Brothers Theodore Barton, P. Briggs, George Brinkworth, F.J. Burge, J. H. Butterfield, Edward Caldin, J. H. Cantopher, A.C.J. Charlier, D.W. Clarke, A .De Weck, J.W. Fitzgerald, Patrick Geoghegan, J.L. Guilana, J.E.G .McSheehy, J.J.Martin, J. Mertens, Sir Westby Perceval(KCMG., KSG), H.R. Prince, and E. Vincent Wareing.
The following members of other Circles:
Brothers Dr. J. Elford Dupiging(President of the South London Circle). B.C. Wright, (President of the Brighton Circle), H.A. Whitehead (representing the North London Circle), G.J.Alexander, J.I.Allman, Frank Beer, A.J.Bonnevialle, Charles Bourke, J.E. Burge, G.I.Philips Bussy, John Carnegie, J.P. Collins, G.J. Corden, J. Dobinson, W. Finn, P.A. Grammel, J.G. Greenwood, J.H.E. Harber, E.K. Heyburn, C.H. Nickolls, James Ryan, P.A. Spaul, F.H. Tandy, T.J. Tierney, J. Kenrick Welby, and C.A. Winham.
The Grand President formally declared the New Circle Opened
Initiations: The following Candidates for admission to the Circle were initiated by the Grand President in Solemn Form:-
Mr. James McBrien, of 23 Trinity Road, Wimbledon, S.W. Government Servant, Scotland Yard. Proposed by Brothers H .R. Prince, Thomas Baines and F. J. Burge.
Mr. William Morgan, of 42 South Park Road, Wimbledon, S.W. Inspector of Police Proposed by Brothers Patrick Geoghegan, F. J. Burge and H. R. Prince.
Mr. Frederick Augustus Wm. Parkinson of, Stanmore, 39 South Park Road Wimbledon, Music Seller, 22 Broadway, Wimbledon. Proposed by Brothers E. Vincent Wareing, G. E. H. Butterfield and F. T. Burge.
Recognitions:- Brothers Thomas Baines imparted the method of recognition to the new members, who then signed the Roll
Election of Officers: A list of the following nominations for office in the
new Circle was handed to the Grand President, and, there being only one
nomination for each office, the candidates were declared unanimously
President:- Bro. A.C.J.Charlier, Proposed by Bros. T. Barton and G. E .H. Butterfield
Vice-President:- Bro. G.E.H. Butterfield, Proposed by Bros A.C.J. Charlier and F.J Martin
Chamberlain- Bro.G H Cantopher, Proposed by Bros. A C J Charlier and F J Martin
President's Marshal- George Brinkworth, Proposed by Bro. A C J Charlier and F J Martin
Vice President's Marshall- Bro. F J Martin, Proposed by Bros. G.E.H. Butterfield and A de Weck
Treasurer:- Bro. H. R. Prince Proposed by Bros. P Briggs and E. Vincent Wareing
Secretary:- Bro Edward Caldin, Proposed by Bros . E .H. Butterfield and P Briggs
Guard:- Bro. Patrick Geoghehan Proposed by Bros. P. Briggs and G. E.H Butterfield
Registrar:- Bro. F.J.Burge Proposed by Bros. G.E.H Butterfield and F.J Martin
Induction of Officers:- The Grand President inducted the new Officers in due form and order. There being no other business, the Circle was closed by the President.
Signed A. C. J. Charlier.
The following Brothers were present:B. Alberquerque,
T. Conlon, W. Cousins, S . Crocker, M. Gilhooly, J. Gilmartin, D. Gleeson, J. Golden,
M. Lobo, P. Maher, J.O'Brien, P.Pieroni, E.Power, W.Rhind, B. Rickard, J. Simmonds,
C. Woodward, S. Xavier, L. McCann, D. Ghossain, and E.Bandoh. The last three being enroled at the meeting.
Apologies were accepted from Brothers: D.Gunning, A.Mann, J.Redwood, W.Sathanathan, J.Lambert, J.Woods, G.Norris, C.Meehan,and X. de Fontgalland
47 visitors present including John Hogan, National President.
The meeting closed at 8.30 and was followed by a buffet at which Ladies were present.Signed Date
The first annual dinner of the Thames Valley Circle of the Catenian Association was held at the Wimbledon Hill Hotel, Wimbledon, on Monday, January 13. The President, Mr. A. C. J. Charlier, presided over the gathering. Among the guests were the Bishop of Southwark, Father Plater, S.J., Father Chichester, S.J., Rector of Wimbledon, Father Lester, S.J., Father Rankin, S.J., Father C. Donovan, Father Charlier, the Prior of Ealing, Father A. Wright, His Honour Judge Parfitt, the Hon. J. D. Connolly, Major Wegg-Prosser, and a large number of ladies- wives and friends of the members of the Thames Valley Circle.
After the loyal toasts had been honoured, the toast of the " Catenian Association " was proposed by Father Plater, S.J., who said he had always taken a keen interest in the Association, and he had met Catenians all over the country and had watched their work. He had heard questions as to the reasons for their existence and as to the work they were doing. He ventured to say that Catenians had a very definite work to do and a work of the greatest importance. It was something that our Catholic professional and business men should have an opportunity of meeting and knowing one another. That fact alone justified the existence of the Association. But they were doing good work besides, not only for their own members but for others also. It will be realized that a body of business men can help in many ways. He thought there would be opportunity for mode and a wider work. In the national reconstruction which is before us, Catholics have a great opportunity, and Catholic professional and business men would be able to help to solve many of the great difficulties which will arise.
In acknowledging the toast, the President explained in detail the aims and objects of the Association. It was entirely a business organizafion for the benefit of the Brothers and their families. The Association had done a good deal to break down the barriers of class distinction. It had also helped many to take up official positions, from which Catholics were for so many years excluded. There were four Catenian members of Parliament, several Mayors of different towns throughout the country. Our difficulty now seemed to be to find Catholics to fill these official positions. he emphasized the fact that the Association came to the assistance of Brothers who may fall distressed by the wayside, and pointed out that the professional and business classes usually suffered in silence when trouble came, and were left to suffer. He defended the Association against the charge of being a secret society, and o (sic) sought to remove any misapprehension which might arise from the fact that the clergy were excluded from membership. He pointed out that the Association was made up of a body of practising Catholics, and the Church forbade secret societies.
Sir Westby Perceval proposed the health of the Bishop of Southwark, remarking that such a toast required nothing to commend it. The Bishop of Southwark was his official title, but he hoped he would allow him to use his other name-Amigowhich is the Spanish equivalent for our good old English word " friend." He looked f orward to the time when the increased membership would enable the Association to be of practical value to the Bishop and his clergy in the forward movement which had been referred to. Very little progress would be made without the co-operation of the laity. He held the view that the Catholics of this country were very badly organized. There are many lay associations, but there was a lack of co-ordination - there was no association which could take the lead. There should be some machinery which would permit the whole of the Catholic laity be banded together under one leadership whenever the Catholic cause was in jeopardy and when any good cause required assistance and support.
The Bishop, in reply, thanked Sir Westly Perceval for all the kind things he had said. He was glad to know from the President's speech of the aims and objects of the Association. He felt that the speech had been made for his instruction. He was delighted to learn that the Association came to the assistance of those who fall distressed by the wayside, because in that category they could put the Hierarchy of England. So he hoped the Catenian Association would come to his aid, although he was not eligible for membership, not being a business Man. It was splendid to have such a body of business men banded together in an association which is thoroughly Catholic. They had been told how much it had grown in the North. He hoped that the number of Circles would increase in his diocese of Southwark, and he hoped also that the number of members would greatly increase in the near future.
Judge Partitt, in responding to the toast of " The Visitors," proposed by the President, said this was the third time he had been privileged to speak at Catenian gatherings, and he thought the Catenians must begin to wonder when he was going to join up. He would really have to consider it very seriously.
Father Lester also responded.
This is a copy of the report in 'The Tablet' of 19th January, 1919
Catholics in the Antipodes as well as in Great Britain will learn with deep regret that Sir Westby Brook Perceval, K.C.M.G., K.C.S.G., died suddenly on Saturday last at his residence at Wimbledon, aged seventy-four. Sir Westby Perceval, in the course of a busy ca,reer, had served Tasmania and New Zealand well. The former island was his native place; and he went to Christ's College, Christchurch, for his schooling before coming to England and entering at Stonyhurst. From 1891 to 1896 he was Agent-General in London for New Zealand, and for two years subsequently he held the same office for Tasmania.
After leaving Stonyhurst, Sir Westby Perceval embraced the legal profession and was called to the Bar at the Middle Temple in 1878. He returned later to New Zealand and practised at Christchurch, which city he represented in the New Zealand Parliament from 1887 -until 1891, when, as shown above, his work as AgentGeneral began. In London he threw himself ardently into Catholic work. He was a member of the Catholic Education Council, and in 1916 he was elected president of the London Circle of the Catenian Association. In 1891 he was created a Knight Commander of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Leo XIII, an honour followed three years later by the knighthood conferred in the K.C.M.G.
Sir Westby Perceval had served on a number of commissions: these included the Commission for the Chicago Exhibition, 1894-5; the Commission for the Paris Exhibition, 1900; and the Chamberlain Tariff Commission, 1904. He was the author of several publications dealing with products and industry in New Zealand. Sir Westby married, in 1880, Jessie, daughter of the Hon. John Johnston, M.L.C., of Wellington, New Zealand. Major Francis Westby Perceval, 0.B.E., and Captain Christopher Westby Perceval, D.S.O., are sons. The funeral requiem was celebrated at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Wimbledon, on Wednesday.-R.I.P.
This is a copy of the report in 'The Tablet' of 30th June 1928. Photo, c. 1880, ex Wikipaedia
Albert de Weck, born in 1853, and his wife née Bertha Johnes
Albert went to high school in Fribourg and then studied commerce in Bavaria. There he met Jules Repond who became colonel and chief of the Swiss Guards at the Vatican. Albert worked for a bank in Munich for three years, then in Paris for our uncle Ignace de Weck's bank. After one or two years, he left for London and settled in the Wimbledon area. He had a very successful career with one of the largest London houses handling colonial commodities. He rose to the position of chief of the coffee trade with a salary of forty thousand francs a year. He retired about ten years ago. He is eighty-one now [writing in 1930's].
He always enjoyed very good health until the last few years when he became ill with a bladder affliction. He stayed very fond of Fribourg and returned every year to spend his vacation at the Bonnes-Fontaines. There were many parties in his honor. He kept a subscription to La Liberté, which he read daily. All that did not stop him from becoming very English.
Albert was a hard worker with a good sense of duty. He was very knowledgeable in financial matters and, in spite of his large family, built a nice fortune-although it's true that his handsome salary helped. He had a golden heart and liked to help. He was a handsome man with a definite English air. He was very good to my daughters, Elisabeth and Colette, during their stay in England. He has helped me also.
He married Bertha Johnes in 1884. She was a devoted wife and a worthy mother who made Albert very happy. She came from a middle-class family. She was an intelligent woman, a worker who ran the house well and made all her daughters' dresses. She lived for her husband and her children, whom she raised well. Albert died of his bladder problem in 1934. He and Berthe had nine children.
This is an extract from the writings of his brother, Maurice. The family seem to have come from Freiburg
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