History of The Old Dovorian Club

The Club was founded on 10th December 1887, during the annual Old Boy winter visit to the School, largely through the efforts of R. Norris, who had begun organizing a team to play the School in 1876. Its first President was Canon W. Bell, the first headmaster.

The OD Club’s objective, amongst others, is for the benefit of all former pupils, past and present members of staff, as quoted from one of the Club’s original objectives, at its creation back in 1887, and “To keep up friendly intercourse between Old Dovorians” and “To keep members informed in all matters interesting to Old Dovorians”.  It also administers the “Dover College War Memorial and Endowment Fund (1926)”. Under the provision of the Royal Charter of 1922, at least one third of the Governing Body of the School shall be Old Dovorians.

Since 1876, Old Boy teams have been put in the field to play the School at Cricket, Football and Hockey, and also more recently at Tennis, Squash Racquets and Golf.  In addition, tours have been organised in all three of the major games, first as “Dover Wanderers”, then the O.D.R.U.F.C. and later (between the Wars) as the “London Old Dovorian R.U.F.C.” (whose tie is now the Club’s Town Tie).  Mention must also be made of the Cricket tours in Sussex, and the Hockey tours in Europe and the Channel Isles, so admirably organised by R. Heathcote Hacker.  After World War II it was found more difficult to arrange a revival, but the O.D. Hockey Club kept going at the Folkestone Festival till 1965, and still played Sunday matches against other Old Boy sides at Bromley.

The Club have had 3 gaps in holding meetings.  The first was from the AGM held on 11th July 1914 to the AGM held on the 29th November 1919. The second was from the AGM held on 2nd July 1939 to a committee meeting held on 12th September 1946. The third was from the committee meeting held in November 2019 to the AGM held in July 2021, due to the Government of the day national lock down as a result of the Covid pandemic (This information comes from old minute books).

After the First World War, the OD Club launched the War Memorial and Endowment Fund which raised money to buy the College from its original owners and turn into a charitable organisation under Royal Charter, granted in 1922, in which status it remains to this day. Under this charter, at least one third of Governors must be ODs. In November 1947 after the end of World War 11, the Club relaunched the Fund to raise money for a War Memorial and to restore the College buildings. The Fund remains in existence and still funds some activities at the College. The most recent is the purchase of the Billie Neville statue unveiled on Armistice Day 2018 and the refurbishment of the Gate House to house Dover College’s archive.

The College changed to a co-educational establishment in the 1970’s and the Club naturally changed with it, so that all members of College are entitled to join and enjoy all the benefits.

In the early 1980’s the Club launched the OD Trust. This was founded to support education in general and especially at the College.  It was created because the War Memorial Fund has some very strict rules which make it too inflexible for routine use.  The Trust, supported by some early bequests, continues to look to increase its funds and support College activities.  Recent examples include the purchase of the prizes for Speech Day, and the restoration of the Refectory.

In 2023 the Club become members of “AROPS”, which is the “Schools Alumni Association”, as well as becoming members of the “ICO”, (The Information Commissioners Office), which is an independent UK government body that regulates the use and storage of personal data (GDPR) .

Old Dovorian Club today

The Club continues to support, inform and entertain its members, through “The Dovorian News”, which is issued twice year to members, usually in the summer and just before Christmas.

Over the years the Club has adapted to both the changes within the College, but also within society, and has now become a “facilitator” to enable its members to maintain contact with each other, as well as to support the various independent, stand alone OD groups.

To which end, the Club supports the London Cocktail Party, which is attended by club members, their family and friends, which is held in London at the RAF Club in Piccadilly London in January.

The Club also supports both the Old Dovorian Cricket Club and Old Dovorian Golf Society, who raises a team of ODs to compete against the College, and other teams within the South East of England and London.

Unfortunately, the Cricket Club now only playing against other cricket clubs and Alumni’s. However, the Golf Society still play against a mixed parent, teacher, and pupils team raised by the College, as well as other Golf Society’s mainly situated within the South East of England and London.

There are a number of OD Groups both here in the UK, and overseas, particularly in Hong Kong, Nigeria, and Singapore, that have been set up by ODs, bound by the common thread of having been associated and educated at Dover College.

The Club also maintains its own website, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram and Twitter platforms to inform, and have continued engagement with its members. Most communication is through these social media platforms, as well as direct e-mail to the membership. However, postal communication is maintained for those who need it, or prefer this method of communication.

For more information about the Club you can contact the Club via contact@olddovorian.com