We organise occasional events in addition to the weekly debates in Kingston.
Occasionally we welcome other societies to our meetings; we then attend their meetings as away matches.
Dinners and lunches
Every March or April, at the end of the debating season, we used to hold an annual dinner. In recent years it has instead become an annual lunch, held in a pub. Dress is informal, and there are no speeches.
The get-together has been a feature of the society since the late 19th century. It was one way that women could be involved before they were admitted to full membership in 1947.
Expeditions: ‘one of the happiest days’
Another very enjoyable event is the summer expedition, to places of interest within easy reach of Kingston. Seen at the top of the page, on the right, are some of the Kingston debaters who went on our trip to Polesden Lacey in the Surrey hills in June 2012.
Here some of our members and their guests are on the Bluebell Railway in Sussex, for our annual expedition in 2019. It was a warm, sunny day, and the party had tea in the Directors’ carriage as they sped through the countryside.
These outings are one way of keeping in touch when debating has stopped for the summer.
The tradition of holding an outing began in June 1939. Members and their families, 33 in all, drove in a convoy of cars to Selborne, the Hampshire home of the 18th-century naturalist Gilbert White. Nearly fifty years later we chose Selborne for our centenary outing in 1986, the youngest member of the party being a few months old.
One member took part in both trips to Selborne. Quite a few of our present-day members have been debating weekly in Kingston for over 40 years.
Another member of the original Selborne party recalled in 1980 that one of the participants had observed at the end of that sunny June day in 1939: ‘This has been one of the happiest days of my life.’
Our autumn season of weekly debates runs from 15 October to 3 December 2020. They will be held via Zoom.
You can view the eight topics under The Debates.