Charter Members
President Miss Helen Catto Welfare Supervisor, L. M.S. Railway Co
Vice-Presidents Miss R. M. Glen District Inspector, Scottish Board of Health
Miss J. Hope Retail Confectioner
Secretary Miss Madge Anderson Solicitor
Treasurer Miss A.C. Murdoch Company Secretary, Pettigrew & Stephens Ltd.  

Miss Helen Blair Secretary Social Work
Miss M.M. Whitfield Ministry of Labour, Senior Woman Officer
Miss Burton-Mackenzie Proprietor, Women Workers' Bureau
Miss Mary Mackirdy Teacher of Cookery
Miss C. Allan Optician
Mrs Fountaine Brodie Collector of Antiques & Adviser on House Furnishing and Decoration
Miss Frances Leitch Journalist, The Glasgow Herald
Miss B. Spence *
Miss J.C. Horn Milk Distributor
Miss McCulloch School of Shorthand
Dr. Mudie *
Miss Dorothy Pugh Vocalist
Mrs Warneuke Photographer
Miss Elliot Mason Actress
Miss C. Menzies Teacher of Elocution
Miss Hopkins Dancing Teacher
Miss Stamm *
Miss Yvonne Zech Varnish Manufacturer
Miss N. Audley Beauty Specialist
Miss J. Horn Milk Distributor, associate


There is no record of the categories of these members and their names do not appear in the 1928 membership list, so one has to assume that these three either left Glasgow or decided early on, that Soroptimism was not for them !

Club Presidents 1927 - 1997

1927-30 Miss Helen Catto **
1930-31 Miss Frances Melville
1931-32 Dr. Alice J. McLaren
1932-33 Miss De Courcy L. Dewar
1933-34 Miss C.H. Rottenburgh
1934-35 Miss A.C. Murdoch
1935-37 Dr. Marion Gilchrist
1937-38 The Rev. Vera Kenmure
1938-39 Mrs E.B. Hughes
1939-40 Mrs M. McLellan
1940-42 Dr. Mary Stevenson ***
1942-43 Miss L.M. Cheetham
1943-45 Miss K.L. Walker
1945-46 Miss l.B.H. Newlands
1946-47 Miss Helen Wingate
1947 Miss Anne Mitchell
1947-49 Dr. E. McAlpine
1949-50 Miss I.M. Richmond
1950-51 Miss Jean H. Dalziel
1951-52 Miss I.H. Baird
1952-53 Miss lsobel M. Davidson
1953-54 Dr. lsobel M. Case
1954-55 Miss Ella T. Ferguson
1955-56 Miss Marald D. Grant
1956-57 Miss Janet P. Gray
1957-58 Miss Grace A. Williamson
1958-59 Miss Grace McChlery
1959-60 Mrs Emma Fair
1960-61 Miss Edith Jones
1961-62 Miss Elia Lamb
1962-63 Mrs Nan Camduff
1963-64 Mrs Bessie P. Johnston
1964-65 Miss Montague M. Martin
1965-66 Miss Mary L.S. McFadyen
1966-67 Mrs Windred M. Ewing
1967-68 Miss Joan Alexander
1968-69 Dr. Maud P. Menzies
1969-70 Miss Christina Keachie
1970-71 Miss Helib Low
1971-72 Mrs Margaret T. Cowan
1972-73 Miss Alison A.M. Downie
1973-74 Mrs Dorothea G. Stewart
1974-75 Mrs Margaret M. Morton
1975-76 Mrs Margaret C. White
1976-78 * Miss Una M. Bissett
1978-79 * Dr. Verne A. Semple
1979-80 Dr. Joan C. Main
1980-81 Mary, Lady Gray
1981-82 Mrs M. Elaine Barne
1982-83 Mrs Margarette Browning
1983-84 Mrs K. Ann Allan
1984-85 Miss E. Margaret Key
1985-86 Dr. Anne M. Kelly
1986-87 Dr Ruth Day
1987-88 Dr. Aileen C. Bingham
1988-89 Mrs Elaine McLaren
1989-90 Mrs Heather Thomas
1990-91 Dr. Frances J. Dryburgh
1991-92 Mrs Anne S. Stephen
1992-93 Dr. Elspeth Carrick
1993-94 Mrs Margaret Murphy
1994-95 Mrs Sheila C. Browning
1995-96 Miss Helen G. Lind
1996-97 Mary, Lady Gray
1997-98 Ms Elizabeth M. Jamieson

* There is a discrepancy in these years because of an alteration in the timing of the change of Insignia.
** National President 1932-33 *** National President 1946-47

Members of Clasgow Central who were
Presidents of Divisional Union Scotland South
now Scotland South Region

1936-37 Miss Helen Catto
1937-38 Dr. Helen Wingate
1944-46 Dr. Mary Stevenson
1951-52 Miss Jean H. Dalziel
1959-60 Miss Edith Jones
1973-74 Dr. Maud P. Menzies
1975-76 Miss Mary More *
1988-89 Mary, Lady Gray

* while a member of S.I. Paisley Club

Our Charter

The original Charter for Glasgow Central was lost following the destruction by fire of the Grosvenor function rooms where the Club had met for a number of years. In 1977, we arranged to obtain a copy and this was signed by Miss Una Bissett, President 1977/78. It is inscribed on the back by Dr.Isobel Case with the names and categories of all Charter members.

The Badge

The previous ivorine has recently been replaced. The Soroptimist emblem is now shown on a gilt badge bar, the member's name and category in white lettering and the Club name in gold, these being shown on a blue background.

60th Anniversary Brooch

As stated in the text, this was designed in 1987 by Mrs Anne Coley, and is pictured on the front cover. The rose is the Mackintosh rose, perhaps even more appropriate now since the Mackintosh exhibition in 1996. The bird is the dove of peace which features in the Mackintosh School of Art, while the acorns are there to suggest the possibility of growing to great oaks producing yet more acorns. The surrounding laurel leaves symbolise victory and triumph, or perhaps friendship and service.


The main feature of our Regalia is the special lapis-lazuli stone which hangs from a silver filigree handmade medallion incorporating the words 'President, Glasgow' and the Soroptimist emblem. Silver chain links hold silver bars on which the President's name and year of office are recorded. In 1981, Mr Tony Browning kindly arranged to have the stone examined in the Kelvingrove Art Galleries to confirm its authenticity. It was pronounced to be lapis-lazuli, which is a mixture of the blue mineral lazurite and other main components, including calcite and pyrite. Lapis-lazuli is a highly prized ornamental stone used for carvings etc. We treasure our possession.

Our Venues

Over the years, our wanderings, like those of the Lost Tribe, can be traced from one meeting place to another - the Gordon, the Rhul, the George Hotel, the Grosvenor, the Ca'doro, Renfield Church Centre, Exchange Restaurant, the Royal Scottish Automobile Club, the Bath Hotel, the College of Building & Printing, the Mitchell Library and Glasgow University College Club. Yet average attendances rarely fall below the requisite 50% of meetings and often exceed it.

Friendship Links

Also valued is the contact we have with what used to be known as our Sister Clubs. The exchange of news and views is useful as well as interesting, but the success of the link depends to a great extent on the correspondent. In this day and age when letter writing is no longer a fashionable pastime, it has proved more difficult to keep these links alive.We were therefore vexed to have to formally sever our link with S.I. Los Angeles in 1986 after 38 years. However, we occasionally meet up on special occasions with members of S.I. Antwerp, to whom we have been linked since 1951, although the correspondence is rather sparse.
In 1980, Margaret Morton and Margaret Cowan attended Antwerp's Golden Jubilee celebrations, enjoying hospitality from one of their members. They had travelled via Amsterdam where they stayed in the home of a Soroptimist just a stone's throw from Anne Frank's house. In 1990, Glasgow Central was represented by Mary, Lady Gray, who travelled to Antwerp for their Diamond Jubilee.

Our strongest link was forged in 1973 with S.I. Morrison, Australia. This came about through contact made by Dr Maud P. Menzies and Alison Downie when they attended the S.I.G.B.I. Federation Conference in Sydney at which Dr. Menzies was installed as President of Divisional Union Scotland South. Dr. Maud has corresponded faithfully over the years on our behalf and has been rewarded with regular letters and relevant information. Gifts, too, have frequently been exchanged. Since 1978, this Club has been part of the Federation of the South West Pacific which was inaugurated in that year. In addition, Marguerite Mennie keeps up a regular correspondence with another Australian Club, S.I. Mornington, details of which we enjoy. More recent links are with S.I. Grimsby & Cleethorpes and S.1.Carshalton, in our own Federation.


Opposite Numbers

The Opposite Number scheme was introduced in the 70s. While visiting the sick among ourselves would always happen as a matter of course, the scheme was introduced to encourage each member to be responsible for a person assigned to her. This valuable friendship link within the Club ensures regular contact. The sick or housebound are sent flowers at Christmas or during times of crisis, while the fit member keeps the club informed of their progress. Moreover, several car runs operate for the benefit of those who do not drive.


Daughter Clubs




S.I. Belfast




S.I. Paisley


S.I. Motherwell/Wishaw


S.I. Glasgow South


S.I. Glasgow West


We have always had close links with Glasgow South and Glasgow West Clubs, first of all in the management of Soroptimist House Trust, which was a joint responsibility.

Each summer, the three Glasgow Clubs take turns in the organisation of a three-Club outing. In recent years, we have visited such places as Hill House, Helensburgh, Ross Priory, Hill of Tarvit and Blairquhan House in Ayrshire. During the working session, we tend to have at least one joint meeting where an in-depth discussion takes place on a topic of current interest or importance to Soroptimism, e.g. Women & Violence, Nuclear Power etc. Such contact is valuable and beneficial to us all.

Subscriptions since 1977









































































Increases in capitation fees and rental of premises account for a fair part of the somewhat dramatic increase in the last ten years.

The Associate membership category was introduced in 1991 and is a means of allowing those who are unable, because of age or infirmity, change of area of residence, or for business or personal reasons, to fulfil the attendance requirements to remain members of the Club.

Categories, etc.

Glasgow Central has maintained a good proportion of women holding responsible positions and some in what might have been regarded as male dominated spheres of work. The Rev. Vera Kenmure was, in 1928, the first woman to be ordained Minister of the Congregational Union of Scotland, and later, the first woman to become the President of that Union.

In social work, Miss Marald Grant and Miss L. M. Cheetham were in the vanguard with their work at respectively, the Guild of Aid and the Society of Social Service. The Hon. Victoria Bruce was the first woman to become a Prison Governor in Scotland when she was appointed to Duke Street Prison in 1946. Miss Janet Gray in 1953 became the first policewoman chief inspector in the City of Glasgow Police Force.

Among less usual categories, the Club has had two farmers and a magician. Supporters of the movement towards equal opportunities for women (quoted from 1977 and now almost taken for granted), may note that as early as 1928, members included a dental surgeon, a detective officer, architects, a broadcasting organiser, a gynaecological surgeon and a painter and decorator. Amongst those who joined in 1933 was a gilder and picture frame maker, in 1934 a trades union officer and in 1938, an industrial relations consultant, in 1939 a director of coastwise shipping and a senior officer of the National Fire Service, in 1942 a removal manager and in 1943 the manager of a coal contractors.

In our Golden Jubilee year, the list of categories of active members included a director of engineering, veterinary surgeon, managing director of a property company manufacturer's agent, director of soft drinks manufacturers and architect planner. We also had a pathologist, a dermatologist, a research chemist and a goodly number of medical practitioners of various leanings.

Along the way, there has been a senior member of the Salvation Army who left when she became a General in London, a calligrapher, a paediatric neurologist, a wholesale ironmonger and a wholesale tea merchant; a textile agent importer, a potter and a jeweller. We have always had a solicitor; we had an advocate and a Member of Parliament who became a Member of the European Parliament.

There has always been good representation from all branches of the arts - music, visual, applied and literature. We must mention the late Alison Downie who was a well known journalist and Lavinia Derwent who was, of course, Tammy Troot in person. In our 70th year, Joan Alexander and Louise Annand MacFaquhar are still with us.

Currently, Mary, Lady Gray, our President, and a former Lady Provost of Glasgow, presides regularly in court as a magistrate. Among our members are two lawyers, a finance officer, an accountant, two biochemists and a research chemist. A number of teachers have always been members, but those whose categories remain unmentioned have only failed to poach on 'male' preserves!

From the beginning, the Club has been fortunate in its office-bearers. Two notable 'long- distance runners' were Kay Stewart, Secretary from 1934-1949, and Louise Bendell, Treasurer from 1945-1967. They are in a class by themselves, but their successors, including our present officers, have kept up a tradition of dedicated service.

In the last decade, three members have reached heights by being recipients of Honorary Doctorates from Glasgow University. These were Dr Winnie Ewing, Member of the European Parliament for the Highlands and Islands, who translated to Elgin, Dr Joan Alexander for her services to music and Dr. Louise Annand MacFarquhar M.B. E., a well-known Scottish artist and the first woman to hold the office of chairman of the Glasgow Graduates' Association when appointed in 1972.

Two members have been awarded the M. B. E. in the last decade, Catherine S. Downie, who before her retiral was head teacher of a school for physically handicapped children and Agnes Thomson, Superintendent Physiotherapist, now retired.

Social Events

Within recent years, there has been a move away from the formal annual dinner, in line with modern lifestyle and because of the increasing costs of such functions. In the 1980s, four Sunday lunches were held in the Holiday Inn (now the Marriot), as well as an informal evening in the Trades House with a talk on Glasgow followed by musical entertainment. Some theatre visits with supper were also enjoyed.

Since 1990, social events have included two theatre outings, a coach tour of Glasgow by Night followed by fish and chips at Harry Ramsden's, our 65th anniversary lunch and two visits to the Royal Concert Hall to see classic silent films on a big screen accompanied by live orchestral music composed by Cart Davis, both novel and entertaining. At Christmas time, all members look forward to our party and the well-loved seasonal music which was introduced in 1950 by Ailie Cullen and lsobel Davidson, and carried on by Agnes Duncan and Joan Alexander.

Fund-raising Events and Beneficiaries

Major fund-raising events have taken a variety of forms : Fashion shows, coffee mornings, bazaars, silent auctions, spring and Christmas fairs.

The charities which have benefited over the last twenty years from our giving include Erskine Hospital, the Centre for Rheumatic Diseases, Huntershill Marie Curie Centre, Crossroads, McMillan Nursing Service, Prince & Princess of Wales Hospice, Yorkhill Hospital, Head Injuries Trust for Scotland, Royal National Life-Boat Institution, Children First, the Herald National Foundation for Women and Arthritis Care.

When Catharine Salt, S.I. Glasgow South, was International President from 1981-83, she initiated an Appeal asking Soroptimists world-wide to make a sacrifice on 10th December, International Day (United Nations Human Rights Day) so that money could be donated at the International Presidents discretion to women in need anywhere in the world. We have given to this appeal every year.

On-going collections of newspapers, silver paper and used stamps have benefited various charities over the years.


Dr. Fanny Cohn Bequest

1000 was disbursed this year to the East End Glasgow Youth Theatre to fund the employment of the musical director for four weeks prior to the production of their annual show which will be performed at various venues in Glasgow, including the Tramway.

The Charities Fund

1600 was disbursed. 1000 was donated to Arthritis Care, to provide an information pack for the benefit of the parents of the 1300 children in Scotland who suffer from arthritis. 250 was given to Soroptimist International Aids Mediation (S.I.A.M.), the current international project in Thailand. 125 has been sent to the Rotary Day Care Centre, which premises have, for a number of years, been made available to us for Executive Committee meetings. 100 went to Women's Aid to pay for the art work in their brochure and 100 to Old People's Welfare (50 of which was collected from the members at a meeting) and the remaining 75 to Crossroads.

Ronald McDonald House

A Ronald McDonald House is a home for the families of children suffering from serious illnesses or complex paediatric conditions. It is a place where the parents and family can stay while the ill child is in hospital. The facilities are provided free of charge. The first Ronald McDonald House was established in Philadelphia, U. S. A. in 1974, and the first one in Scotland is built at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children at Yorkhill. Volunteers are required to keep the public areas clean and tidy and to prepare the bedrooms for new occupants. A number of our members give of their time to help in this way, and a donation of 100 was made in 1996.

Soroptimist House

The Soroptimist House Trust Fund was set up to be managed by a committee formed from the three Glasgow Clubs in 1955, and from that time, these Clubs willingly donated to the fund money to be used for repairs and maintenance. Several gifts and legacies were given, which were all used for improvements and refurbishment to ensure a warm, comfortable and safe home for the ladies. Among those of our own members who left bequests to the Trust were May Alston, Ella Ferguson, Marald Grant and Edith Jones.
We were always happy to invite the ladies to join us at our Christmas party and other social events. In the summer, the ladies were taken to the coast or country for an afternoon outing, and on several occasions, a past member, Kirsten Holmes, invited them along with some club members to visit her home near Cardross where they enjoyed tea and a stroll in her large garden.


The objects of the 3S Trust Fund are :
  1. To enable Soroptimists in Scotland South Region of Soroptimist International of Great Britain & Ireland to sponsor a person, whether or not a Soroptimist, willing and able to offer professional expertise in specific fields overseas, or in the United Kingdom.,

    and / or

  2. to sponsor persons, not necessarily Soroptimists, from outwith the U.K. to come to this country for study or training, all of which would benefit the country or community, or both, of the person sponsored,

    and / or

  3. to provide Funding, in whole or part, for a specific project which would benefit a country or community.