Our History 100+ Years and Counting
It was at the Mechanics Institute where our story really started back in the 1840’s.
A difference of opinion developed, at this time, that was to escalate into an irreparable moral divide and on the 21st April 1848 a large number of it’s members separated and formed a new institution to be called, The Falmouth Athenæum.
On Wednesday 12th of May 1848 a meeting was held, chaired by the former mayor R. R. Broad in the Subscription Rooms. The meeting lasted the whole afternoon and a great many opinions were aired. After the discussions and concerns were settled, a Committee was appointed and the new members of the Athenæum voted Robert Barclay Fox as the first president, with Messrs' J. B. Cox, R. C. Wakefield, W. J. Clarke and H. O. Bulmore as vice presidents in turn. E. Read was elected treasurer with Messrs' Warn and J. Downing as secretaries. A librarian was also appointed. The first lecture was given by Mr Sinclair, 'The Fossils of Animals Considered as a Monument to a Former World'.
The Committee drew up a set of rules based on sound and moral Christian principles (Sunday has always been a day of rest and reflection for the Club) which were set out on the committee table for a week, amended and finally adopted. These rules have survived the test of time and were used as the basis for the modern day club which was founded in 1912.
The new organisation became very popular and often combined with the Literary and Scientific Institute to hold outings and Bazaar’s. One such occasion was held in the grounds of the home of Mrs G C Fox on Thursday the 26th of September 1852 at Grovehill. The area was decorated with flags and entertained by The St Agnes and The Falmouth Philharmonic bands, who performed in the Town and then marched to the grounds in Grovehill . Admission of visitors was at the huge price of six pence each.. The day was a great success and the Athenaeum made a profit of £70, the majority of which was used to buy books for the new library. The day ended with dancing in the ballroom.
100 Year Celebration Day
The day chosen for the celebration of the 100 years was the 30th of June 2012 and members old and new came from afar to hear the address given by the Town Mayor, Geoffrey Evens on behalf of the town council. The club was presented with a copy of a painting of Charles Napier Hemy, finished in 1905 at Churchfield by the artist Sergent, The gift was in recognition of the long and successful years that the Athenaeum Club has been in existence.
Members and their guests enjoyed a great day and just to top things off, the sun came out for the occasion. Photographs of just some of the events are in the Gallery. There was even an Antiques Roadshow from Chris Spencer, one of the original specialists from the popular BBC series of the same name. Several members were surprised to find out just how many treasures they had in the attic.
Over the years illustrious visitors like Fred Davis and Australia's sporting hero, Walter Lindrum all graced the green baize of the Athenæum. The Club has always attracted top names in the snooker world and Andy Hicks has been a frequent visitor over the years. In 2013 Jimmy White came for an evening of 1st class snooker and in 2014 Dennis Taylor came for an evening of snooker and wit. As an accomplished raconteur he kept the 85 or so members and guests entertained to an evening of jokes, anecdotes and silly stories which had everyone in stitches of laughter. Plans are being made to arrange for future visits of professional players and regular matches are played between several clubs in Cornwall. There is an annual contest to find the best players of both snooker and billiards from within the Club.