Leicester Caledonian Society


Objects of the Society
 To perpetuate and foster the natural characteristics of the Scottish people; to encourage Scottish literature, music and dancing and to keep alive the great tradition of Scottish ancestry.
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Background to the Society
The Leicester Caledonian Society was conceived at a Burns night dinner in 1877 and formally instituted at a Burns Festival in Leicester on 25th January 1878. This was a typical Burns celebration of toasts, songs and recitations as well as a fine meal. We still have a silver quaich commemorating the event. The Society has been in continuous existence ever since but has evolved over the years.

The first AGM was held on Burns night 1879 when Mr A Ross was elected President. Unfortunately our earliest minute books were lost many years ago but the Society records from 1904 inclusive have been placed in the Leicestershire Public Records Office for safe keeping. The Society was originally exclusively male Scots but with a growing active membership. The main objects of the Society were “to perpetuate and foster the natural characteristics of the Scottish people; to encourage Scottish literature, music and dancing and to keep alive the great traditions of Scottish ancestry.”

Ladies were first invited to the Burns dinner in 1910 and were admitted as associate members in 1922. It was not until 1946 that ladies were admitted as full members and many have gone on to be valuable members of Council and Presidents since then.

During the war years of 1914-18 and 1939-45 social activities were greatly reduced but members entertained casualties at the 5th Northern General hospital which later became part of Leicester University and the Leicester General Hospital. The social support for the army members based in Leicester was much appreciated and the Society continued its links with the city. Between the war years membership was around 250 members and gradually increased to 540 for its centenary by 1977.

A Scottish pipe band was formed by members in 1948 followed by a Scottish choir and dancing display team by 1951. All of these were prominent in social functions, many of which were held in De Montfort hall for balls to celebrate New Year and St Andrew’s day when the demand for tickets often exceeded the space available.

The Society’s centenary was celebrated with a splendid Burns dinner at the Grand Hotel with the Lord Mayor of Leicester and the Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire as honoured guests plus a grandson of a founder member. The Society received good wishes and a telegram from HM Queen Elizabeth II her own Jubilee year. Mrs Jean Wells embroidered a splendid banner which is still used at Society functions.

In 1980, the Society hosted a successful international Burns Federation Conference in Leicester again in De Montfort Hall.

The Society changed its Rules in 1999 to allow anyone supporting our Objects to become Full members and this has helped on balance to maintain our numbers. We continue to support the main Scottish celebrations and the Scottish Country Dancing members are particularly active plus we hold other events throughout the year.

Our first web site was produced in 2001 and revised to the present form in 2014.






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