Dinner at the Athenaeum
Tuesday 24th May 2016
Members of the Ward Club and their friends were guests of the Master, The Revd Dr Martin Dudley CC at his private club, The Athenaeum in Pall Mall on 24th May. It was such a special occasion.
We were welcomed with a glass of sparkling wine in the garden of this magnificent building, with its classic and impressive frieze running all around the upper level. Then we retired to the Garden Room where the Master regaled us with the Club’s history. Originally a men only club, in the early 20th century, ladies (as guests) were permitted to enter by the garden into this charming room at the side of the main building. Membership was only opened to the ladies in 2002 when they were given the freedom of the upper areas.
The Master introduced our guest speaker, author and television historian, Virginia Rounding with whom the Master had collaborated in producing two books on church matters. Virginia’s early published books focused on Russian History - a biography of Catherine the Great and Tsar Nicholas II and his Empress Alexandra. Her first work was on Parisian courtesans and her current one is about martyrdom in Smithfield, The Burning Time. She told us a little about this last book with some rather gruesome details. Virginia went on to tell us about the trials and tribulations of being a writer. How it is about perseverance and a belief in oneself. She explained that one has first to be accepted by an agent who then finds a publisher. This is just the beginning. From then on it is all about contracts, copy dates, sub editing, final publishing and marketing. Nowadays, she said sadly, this latter job tends to be left to the author. It is very hard work and the rewards are small.
So why does one write, Virginia said? She explained that a germ of an idea comes into her mind and it persists until she expands it and begins the research. And she loves it.
After the talk, a delicious meal was beautifully served with excellent wines. Altogether it was a most memorable evening and our thanks go to the Master for inviting us to his special Club.