On Tuesday, 29th
September, we had a visit from Dr Marion Reid, President of Soroptimist International of Bristol, to present her book entitled “100 Years of Sisterhood: Bristol Fashion
” to Mr Bennett as a thank you to Clifton High School for the material that was obtained from our Archives. The book is newly published and describes the 100 year history of the Bristol Venture/Soroptimist Club.
The founding President of the Club was our very own Miss Eleanor Addison Phillips (Headmistress 1908 to 1933). At the end of her Presidency, she said: “Laughter, enthusiasm and good fellowship are my most vivid recollections of our first meetings in Miss Brownlee’s studio
”. A review of documents held in the Bristol Archives reflects the Club’s consistent emphasis on camaraderie between members and their willingness to help those who are less fortunate than themselves, which was, and is, done by service, fundraising and raising awareness. The Bristol Venture Club, which started in 1920, was based on Rotary principles and was one of the first women’s classification clubs. The Bristol Venture/Soroptimist Club members have focussed on the wellbeing of the vulnerable by using their heads, hearts and hands, through thoughtfulness, compassion and resourcefulness. They have supported charities with no or low overheads thereby maximising the impact in helping underprivileged women and girls.
In 1930, the Bristol Venture Club merged with the Soroptimist Movement. Soroptimist combines the Latin words ‘soror
’ and ‘optima
’ (as in ‘sorority’ and ‘optimal’) to denote ‘best for sisters’.
Over the decades, the Club has supported many charities, victims of natural disasters, women with special specific support requirements (eg, those with mental illness, repeat offenders, those exploited into the sex trade), environmental concerns and victims of natural disasters. The Bristol Club supports Regional, Federation and International arms of Soroptimism, which lobby the UK Government and the United Nations on issues involving women and girls.
This book honours the amazing work done by Venturers and Soroptimists in Bristol. The extraordinary women reflected in this volume deserve to be honoured for their selfless work, big hearts and commitment to sisterhood everywhere. The book focusses more on the collective accomplishments of the Club than on individual members, even though many were outstanding in their achievements. Throughout its 100 year existence, SI Bristol Club members have strived for quality in what they do and been willing to venture beyond their own comfort zone. Hence the use of Bristol Fashion
in the title, which stems from the seaman’s expression ‘Ship shape and Bristol Fashion’ meaning the epitome of high standards.
The book, which is liberally peppered with illustrations, has Forewords written by Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant Peaches Golding and local author Jane Duffus. As one reader exclaimed, ‘I couldn’t put the book down!’ It can be purchased from www.redcliffepress.co.uk
or through firstname.lastname@example.org.About the author
The author is Marion E Reid who has a long-standing interest in the achievements of others and ensuring their contributions are not forgotten. It is in this spirit that she recognises members of the Bristol Venture/Soroptimist Club who have been a remarkable group of women, and that their achievements should be documented.
Marion qualified as a Medical Technologist in Brentwood, Essex, obtained an MSc from the University of California, a PhD from Bristol, and a DSc (Hon.) from Plymouth University. She was a well-known immunohᴂmatologist in the UK and the USA. She has written over 400 articles in peer-reviewed journals as well as many reviews, books and holds a patent for a method for DNA cross-matching for blood transfusion recipients. She has received numerous professional awards.
Marion joined SI Bristol in January 2017 and is currently its President. She lives in Clifton and volunteers for several charities. She enjoys walking, eating out with friends, going to the theatre and greenwood-working at the National Trust’s Tyntesfield.