History Of the OD Club

Old Dovorian Club History


The Club was founded on 10th December 1887, on the occasion of the annual Old Boy winter visit to the school, largely through the efforts of R. Norris, who in 1876 had begun the raising of a team to play the school. Its first President was Canon W. Bell, the first headmaster.

The OD Club’s objective, amongst others, is for the benefit of all former pupils, past and present members of staff, as quoted from one of the Club’s original objectives, at its creation back in 1887, “To keep up friendly intercourse between Old Dovorians and to keep members informed in all matters interesting to Old Dovorians”.

It also administers the “Dover College War Memorial and Endowment Fund”. Under the provision of the Royal Charter of 1922. (Which has now been superseded by a new Royal Charter of 2023)

Since 1876, Old Boy teams have been put in the field to play the School at Cricket, Rugby Union, Football and Hockey, and more recently at Tennis, Squash Racquets and Golf. In addition, tours have been organised in all three of the major games, first as “Dover Wanderers”, then the O.D.R.U.F.C. and later (between the Wars) as the “London Old Dovorian R.U.F.C.” (whose tie is now the Club’s Town Tie). Mention must also be made of the Cricket tours in Sussex, and the Hockey tours in Europe and the Channel Isles, so admirably organised by R. Heathcote Hacker.

After World War II it was found more difficult to arrange a revival, but the O.D. Hockey Club kept going at the Folkestone Festival till 1965, and still played Sunday matches against other Old Boy sides at Bromley.

The Club had three gaps in holding meetings.  The first was from the AGM held on 11th July 1914 to the AGM held on the 29th November 1919. The second was from the AGM held on 2nd July 1939 to a committee meeting held on 12th September 1946. The third occasion was July 2020 as a result of the Covid pandemic restrictions, placed on groups of people gathering, (This information comes from old minute books and recent notes within the 2021 AGM minutes).

After the First World War, the OD Club launched the War Memorial and Endowment Fund which raised money to buy the College from its original owners and turn into a charitable organisation under Royal Charter, granted in 1922, under the 1922 Royal Charter, at least one third of Governors must be OD’s.

However, under the new Royal Charter of 2023, in which status the College is now governed. The Governing body has to have a minimum of five ODs and a maximum of seven must be ODs.

In November 1947 after the end of the Second World War, the Club relaunched a fund to raise money for a War Memorial and to restore the College buildings. The fund remains in existence and still funds some activities at the College. The most recent is the purchase of the Captain Billie Neville statue unveiled on Armistice Day 2018, by the chairman of governors Mr Michael Goodridge, MBE, JP.

The College changed to a co-educational establishment in the 1970’s and the Club naturally changed with it, so that all members of college are entitled to join and enjoy all the benefits.


Old Dovorian Club Today


In 2023 the Club under took a full in depth review of its operation and how this was delivered to its membership, as a result of the Club review it was felt that, the Club should continue to be run for the benefit of Old Dovorians by Old Dovorians, and to re focus its self back to the 3 “Core Principles ” of the Club on which it was founded on the 10th December 1887, which are :-

  • “To keep up friendly, and respectful, communication between Old Dovorians”
  • “To keep members informed in all matters interesting to Old Dovorians”
  • “To maintain continued support and links to the school”. 

Resulting in a re focus and update of the Old Dovorian Club Statement of Purpose, which reads as follows:-

“The purpose of the Old Dovorian Club is an all inclusive group that is run by Old Dovorians for Old Dovorians based on the Club’s 3 core Pillars of Principle upon which the Club was founded on 10th December 1887, as well as maintaining and promoting the traditions and history of the Club and school, whilst supporting OD Club groups in the UK and around the world, including the independent OD groups which have been set up for the benefit of Old Dovorians young and old”.

“Reflecting on the past may be a source of nostalgia and pride, but it should be the aim of every age to maintain a present and build a future which is worthy of the past”.”

As a result of this “re focus” the Club continues to support, inform and entertain its members, as outlined by the Clubs 3 “Core Principles” .

The Club issues a newsletter called “The Dovorian News” once a year to all of its members, as well as organising the highlight of the Clubs social calendar, the annual London Cocktail Party, which is currently held at the RAF Club, Piccadilly, London in mid-January, continuing a tradition that dates back to the 12 January 1888, when Old Dovorians meet in London for originally a formal dinner.  In addition to the highlight of todays Clubs social calendar, the Club also holds as other informal and formal events though out the year.


The OD Club has now opened up Old Dovorian Club Satellites in Hong Kong, on the continent of Africa, USA, and Singapore, as well as local OD Groups in the UK, for example The Old Dovorian North of England , Midlands, and Kent groups, as well as The Cranleigh Group, all of which hold events in their particular locations that are open to all Old Dovorians.


The Club also raises sports teams to compete against the College in Golf, through the OD Golf Society. However, the OD Club do field a cricket team, which plays matches against other teams within East Kent or against other alumni teams,


The Club also encourages and supports OD’s who wish to hold any events that reflect an event in the College’s or Club’s history, for example the OD Lodge’s 50th anniversary since its consecration in 1937, where a dinner was held at the College, and more recently a planned celebration weekend to mark the 50th anniversary of girls being admitted into the College, which is to be held in 2025 in conjunction with the College.


There is also an OD Golf Society who hold a number of events and golf matches against other old school golfing societies, these are mainly held in the Kent and South London areas every year.


Also, there is the OD Masonic Lodge, which is open to all Old Dovorians, Past & present members of staff , parents of current & past pupils, as well as friends of members, The OD Lodge meets four times a year at Freemasons Hall in London, and more recently used to hold it’s summer festival at the College, which included a Festival Dinner in the College Refectory, that was attended by Lodge members partners, friends, and guests of the Lodge, which usually included representatives of the Province of East Kent.


The Club has, and maintains its own web site, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and “X” (Formally Twitter) pages, which are all controlled and managed by the OD Club in its entirety, to keep its members informed as well as to maintain a continued engagement with its members.


The Old Dovorian Club are accredited members of The Schools’ Alumni Association (AROPS). In 2023 the Club also became accredited by The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) as part of the clubs compliance and good practice standards, as laid out in the General Data Protection Regulations 2018 (GDPR)


Most communication is distributed through the OD Club social media platforms and the OD Club e-mail platform, however, postal communication is maintained for those who need it, or prefer this method of communication.

Old Dovorian Club Archive

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