History of Harlow Men’s Forum


Short History of Harlow Men’s Forum

                                        (November 2007 George Mountford)                

The first meeting of the Harlow Men’s Forum took place on 20th September 1977

( more than 30 years ago) but before that, the original idea came from a group of members of the Harlow Hill Methodist Church. It was originally intended to be a Church Men’s group but this failed due to lack of interest.

It was then suggested to form a Men’s Forum and a Preliminary Meeting was held on 3rd May 1977.  The meeting was chaired by the Reverend Goy and present at the meeting were:

Messrs: Baker, Swain, Scholey, Brown, Thorley, Tierney, Mountain, Wilson, Ashton, and Councillor Thackray.

The Chairman explained that the meeting had been called to decide whether there was sufficient demand for a regular meeting to be held in the daytime, and if so what form it would take.  After discussion the following points were agreed:

  1. A regular meeting in the daytime would be held for a trial period in the expectation that support would grow.
  2. The meetings should be open to all men, irrespective of religious belief, and there should be no religious activity.
  3. The first meeting should take place on Tuesday 30th September 1977
  4. Meetings thereafter should take place on the first Tuesday of every month.
  5. Publicity should be sought in by means of a report in local newspapers.
  6. Efforts should be made to recruit members from retired men in the vicinity by reference to the Women’s Fellowship.
  7. Mr Edgar Scholey will be the acting Secretary for the time being.

 In May and June 1977 advertisements for the forum were put in the Harrogate Advertiser.

A further Preliminary Meeting was set for 7th June 1977 at 10.00am in Harlow Hill Methodist Church schoolroom.

The chairman at this meeting was Edgar Scholey.

Present were:

Messrs: Ashton, Baker, Greaves, Wilson, and of course, Scholey.

At this meeting it was decided that:

  1. The name of the group would be The Harlow Men’s Forum.
  2. Members would be registered.
  3. A registration fee of 20 pence would be charged.
  4. A charge of 15 pence per meeting would be charged to cover expenses and Mr. Ashton suggested that refreshments should be served and could be obtained most cheaply at the Cash & Carry Store.
  5. It was agreed that a Secretary would be needed as well as a Registration Secretary, Treasurer and Catering Officer.
  6. Great emphasis was placed upon the recruitment of members, this would be limited to 60 members.

A further meeting was planned for 10.00am ,5th July 1977 at the church.  This meeting was chaired by the Reverend Goy

Present were:

Messers: Baker, Radford, Swain, Wintersgill, Thorley, Lee, Wilson, Mountain, Lowe, Councillor Thackray and of course, Edgar Scholey.

It was agreed that the registration fee of 20 pence should also be the membership fee for the first year.  The meeting fee of 15 pence will include the cost of coffee and biscuits.

Officers were appointed:

Chairman,                                          Rev. L. Goy.

Vice Chairman,                    Councillor Thackray.

Secretary and Speaker Secretary             E.Scholey.

Membership Secretary                          F. Tierney.

Treasurer                                               T. Wilson.

Catering Secretary                                G. Ashton.

A Xmas outing would be held and one or two works outings would take place.  Councillor H.S. Hitchen M.A. had agreed to be the first speaker at the opening meeting on 20th September 1977.

The Secretary was authorised to have notepaper and a programme of talks printed

Conduct at meetings:

Meetings will open at 10.00am when refreshments will be served and members will be free for informal conversation until 10.30am when the talk will start, this will last for 45 to 60 minutes leaving time for questions. The meeting will close at 12.00 noon.

Further Preliminary Meetings were planned for 2nd August and 6th September.

20th September 1977

And so it was that on the 20th September 1977 the first meeting of the Harlow Men’s Forum took place.   Councillor Harold Hitchen gave his talk on the People of the Pyrenees and how Harrogate became twinned with Luchon.

Since that time, thanks to our talks arrangers, we have had a rich mixture of fascinating talks.  We have been taken to just about every part of the world that you can mention, from the Lakes to the Holy Land, from Washington DC to Washington Tyne & Wear, Edgar Scholey himself spoke about going round the world in 40 days.

We know about Banking, talking newspapers, we know the difference between astrology and astronomy, we know about microlights, and microchips. We visited Leeds Bradford Airport and we have even been on a bombing mission to Germany. We have enjoyed all kinds of music and know all about Beethoven and Elgar and have listened to the magic of Mozart and the pure joy of Benny Goodman. We have relived the magic and humour of the music halls and the wit of W.S.Gilbert.  We know about James Cook, Titus Salt and Blind Jack of Knaresborough.

We know that the Bayeaux tapestry is not in fact a tapestry  and the RAF shoulder flash is not an eagle. We even know what referees say to footballers when they tie their laces on the field and only the other day we heard how Santa got stuck in the chimney.

Mr R. Jackson, a founder member, holds the record for talks given (25).