About this Archive
A book group started in Harrow in 1968 and is still meeting in 2018. 2018 was then its 50th Anniversary year and it is going strong with 10 women members. 10 is the perfect number as they meet on the first Monday of every month, excluding January (too soon after New Year and Christmas celebrations) and in December, when they meet, they celebrate Xmas, eat cake and drink tea and read out their favourite pieces of poetry and/or have a literary quiz organised by one or two members. In the other 10 months group members each take turns to choose a book for the others to read. The designated 'chooser' on the first Monday of each month, gives information on the author, previous books by that author if appropriate, reviews of the book, and finally some thoughts on its virtues, the themes, the author's skills or otherwise. Group members all get a chance to comment, contribute and oftentimes they go off script but always give a good account of what they have thought of the book.
This archive lists present members, some past members (many have come and gone, some keep in touch, and are included here). It also, of course, has the lists of 50 years' worth of books. They are at the back of this archive.
A group member chose to collate this archive because they thought that 50 years ago Book Groups were not very much in evidence in the UK, and the women who started the group were mostly working women and a good proportion of them had families to look out for as well. Meeting, as they did then, in the evenings after a long day at work and a hurried supper to (almost certainly) prepare and dash out again, must have been a big commitment but also a big draw - an opportunity to relax, to exchange ideas in a safe environment with other enthusiastic readers.
Bishopsgate Institute have happily agreed to take this archive, given that Harrow is a London Borough, and the group's existence is of historical interest both culturally and as a record of the activities of women in London from the mid-20th century to the early 21st century.