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.
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 two 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. (This information comes from old minute books).
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, in which status it still remains to this day. Under this charter, at least one third of Governors must be OD’s.
In November 1947 after the end of the Second World War, the Club relaunched the 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 Micheal 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.
In the early 1980’s the Club launched the OD Trust, this was founded to support education in general and especially at the College. It was created because the War Memorial Fund has some very strict rules which make it too inflexible for routine use.
The Trust, supported by some early bequests, continues to look to increase its funds and support College activities. Recent examples include the purchase of the prizes for Speech Day, and the restoration of the Refectory.
Old Dovorian Club today
The Club continues to support, inform and entertain its members. A newsletter “The Dovorian News” is issued twice a year to the members. A party for all members is held in London in January (the London Cocktail Party at the RAF Club), as well as other informal and formal events though out the year.
The Club also raises sports teams to compete against the College. This usually involves football in December, touch rugby in March and cricket in June.
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 planed celebration weekend to mark the 45th anniversary of girls being admitted into the College in 1975, is being arranged.
The Club committee is currently looking at raising teams that will consist of OD’s, pupils, and members of staff , who will form teams to play against each other in various sports, such as cricket, sailing, and golf, to name a few, however other sports may also be played if enough interest is shown, for example, for many years tennis was played against the College on the Close.
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, as well as the OD Masonic Lodge, which meets four times a year at Freemasons Hall in London, and once a year at the College, where the Lodge hold their annual ‘Ladies Summer Festival’, which includes a reception on the Close, followed by the Ladies Dinner, held in the College Refectory.
There are a number of OD Groups overseas, particularly in Hong Kong, Nigeria, and Singapore, that have been set up by ODs, bound by the common thread of having been associated and educated at Dover College.
The Club maintains its own web site, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter pages to inform and have continued engagement with its members. Most communication is through these social media platforms and via e-mail, however, postal communication is maintained for those who need it, or prefer this method of communication.