A Short History and Timeline of Southport Lecture Society. Compiled by Miss Vivienne Isherwood.
The Southport Lecture Society (SLS) was founded by the Workers Education Association (WEA) in 1913, the meetings were held in the Temperance Institute, the Minute Book goes back to 1960, there are no records before that, and was formally called “Literacy & Dramatic Society of Thespians”.
In 1961, called the “WEA Social Circle but the AGM in 1962 it was said that the “Social Circle” was not a suitable name and it was changed back to the “WEA Literary Society”. They use to have debates but it was agreed to only have 2 in future “as they were not as popular as formerly”.
In 1962 the average attendance was 33.7 ! It was authorised for the Treasurer, who had a balance of £18.00 compared with £8.00 the previous year to accept 6d from OAP’s “if that was all they wished to pay”.
There were 5 Officers, Committee of 8, Tea Committee of 10, 3 Press Reporters.
In 1966, the Temperance Society introduced an additional charge for gas of 1d per cup of tea, the rent and gas for one evening was 16s-03d !
These are a few selected notes from the minute books:
1969 they purchased an electric kettle so they could make tea in their room, the numbers were falling, they needed 20 to cover the costs. There was a note at the end of the minutes, “Mrs Gregory’s gift of £3 for a share in an electric kettle has not gone through the accounts, its anonymous” !
1970 there was increased attendance, and a Bring & Buy Sale during the Christmas social raised some funds.
1971 a newly decorated room with better lighting and modern furniture, saw the highest attendance of 40 and the lowest of 30, they had 24 meetings.
1972 emergency blackout caused the cancelling of 2 meetings, there was a 5p charge.
1973 “we must not forget the tea Ladies, whether tea be regarded as a stimulant or a soporific, we are its slaves at all times, just as the opium of old. And to the Ladies who, led by Miss Beck, have undertaken the duty of providing it each week, we give our most grateful thanks” !
1974 contributions to increase to 10p.
1975 dispensed with Christmas Party due to poor support.
1978 moved to the Arts Centre (room at the top) fortnightly meetings, thermos of tea brought for speakers.
1984 name changed to Southport Lecture Society
1985 name changed back to WEA Literacy Society
1987 name changed back to Southport Lecture Society.
Miss Isherwood took over as Secretary in 1987, and continued to be the Secretary for the next 24 years.
Her note books are an invaluable reference.

Added February 2018:

On a sad note, our previous Secretary, Vivienne Isherwood passed away on the 7th February 2018, 

Vivienne was the Secretary from 1987 until 2011, having decided at the grand age of 90, that she should finally retire !

We will miss her at the meetings, lovely lady with a great smile !

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