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80 years anniverary

Skål International LONDON

1934 -  2014

80 years servicing the Travel and Tourism Industry

News & Press Release



We invite, all of you to take part in keeping the Skål history alive. We will appreciate your co-operation by adding more or less anything of interest, an anecdote or/and a photos.


Swedish National FlagIt all started with these friendly people from Sweden...........

Shortly after the inauguration of the first joint Swedish and French air service between Stockholm and Paris in 1932, a group of travel people from the French capital were invited to make an exploratory flight over the new route. The welcome they received in Stockholm led to many pleasant friendships.

Realizing the importance of closer relationships among those who strive to develop and promote both national and international travel, the men who made the flight to Stockholm determined to found a permanent organization whose primary aim would be the creation of goodwill and friendship in travel and transportation circles throughout the world.

The Paris SKAL Club was formed on December 16, 1932, with Rene Genestie as President. In April 27th-29th, 1934, twelve other clubs from five countries had been formed and Florimond Volckaert conceived the idea of uniting them into an international organization. The Association International des Skal Clubs (A.I.S.C.) was created on April 28, 1934, in the Hotel Scribe and Volckaert became its Founder President.

And then there was a Travel Club called Skål

On April 27th 1934 a cocktail was held in the Cintra Bar after which a dinner was held at the Pennsylvania Hotel. This meal will always be remembered as a "marvellous culinary experience". Afterwards there was a reception at "Scherezade" for a glass of champagne and they were able to appreciate good music for hours.

On April 28th. 1934 the working sessions were held and it is for this reason that it is considered as the founding date. The Agenda for the meeting was as follows:

1. Study of the Statutes

2. Nomination of the A.I.S.C Committee

3. Organisation of the General Secretariat

4. Organisation of the Treasury

5. Report by the Secretary for the Skål Bulletin

 6. Responsibilities of the delegates on the Committee

7. 1934 Action programme

8. Next meeting - date and place

9. Any other matters

The meeting opened at 10.15 and twenty-one official delegates were present representing eleven Clubs and two observers from London. The recently formed Copenhagen Club was absence but agreed to the decisions that would be taken.

The delegates represented Antwerpen, Bruxelles, Budapest, Lucerne, Montreaux, Marseille and Provence, Netherlands, Paris, Stockholm, Wallonia, London.

At the beginning of the meeting and as it was an "amicable" it was decided that voting would be by a show of hands and each delegation would have one vote. Florimond Volckaert read the articles which were discussed and approved. During the elections all the candidates were unanimously approved except Axel Ekstam and Honore who received nine votes each.

Camille Mathez who was elected unanimously gave his post to Axel Ekstam so that the swedish would be represented. All countries were represented on the committee and they were elected for one year with the possibility of re-election. The first committee looked like this: President - Florimond Volckaert, Paris Secretary General - Pierre Soulie, Paris Vice Presidents - J. Arlt, Antwerpen, Georg Wilcek, Lucerne, Axel Ekstam, Sweden and Honore, Marseille Treasurer - George Ithier, Paris Press - R. Hahn, Montreux Auditors - W.H de Lange, Rotterdam and Dr Szarz, Budapest

Of those that made the inaugural trip in 1932 only three were on the first "Comite Directeur". We will never know about the different opinions which followed but certain, important absences were noted. After the meeting they had lunch at the Athenne


London was actually involved in starting Skål and nearly became Club #2>

After the foundation of the A.I.A.C by the twelve original Clubs in Paris in April 1934, the first country to be added was Great Britain.
But when the first Club was “started” in Paris in 1932, there was a strong possibility that a second Club would have been formed in London very soon after. How did this come about?
It was a coincidence that a party of British travel agents was in Paris at the time when the original discussions about the possibility of a Club were taking place. In charge of this British party was Roddy WAUGH, Sales manager of Imperial Airways (an early forerunner of the present-day British Airways). Before Imperial Airways, he had been a travel agent in Paris and not only knew the town well but had a large number of friends among those in the travel trade there.
Although there is no record of what follows in the Paris archives, it is certain that at least some members of the British party, if not all of them were actually present during the discussions which led to the foundation of the first Skål Club. One of them was Bill KNOTT. Having heard the proposal, it was agreed that if the Club should in fact materialize in Paris, then a similar one might be formed in London, on the initiative of those agents from London who were present.
However, despite the successful outcome of the pioneers in Paris, no progress was made in London at that time. In those days, social contacts between those in travel in London were very rare outside of business hours and the idea of having a Club-house to provide these opportunities was not immediately attractive to the English. In addition, the fact that Paris selected a badge/logo which included two champagne glasses was not approved in London! Hence those who returned from Paris and made the effort to start a Club found it difficult to raise any enthusiasm or support.
However, there has always been constant visiting and close relation between those in the travel business in the two great capital cities and Roddy WAUGH was frequently in Paris on his company’s affairs. He was in good position to observe the progress of the Skål Club in Paris and to learn about the extension of Skål activities to other cities and countries. He was not the only person from London to have these experiences, but it was not until 1934 that any further steps were taken in London.

Londons famous double decker busesThe history of Skål International London

Skål International London Founded 27th November 1934. The idea of forming the Club came about in 1932 during a travel function in Paris given Mr Roddy Waugh, Sales Manager of Imperial Airways. There, the London party was joined by the local Paris agents who had recently returned from a highly successful “educational” to Stockholm organised by Capt. Rolf Florman, head of A.B.A ( Swedish Airlines).

As “Skål“ was the word they all understood and had apparently been used extensively through out the tour, the Paris party was most anxious to keep together and so the idea of a “Skål Club” was formed. A member of the London party was Bill Knott, who discovered that the acting-secretary of the Paris Club was a former colleague and during the course of the evening it was agreed that if the local Club did materialise, similar steps would be taken to form a Club in London.

However, considerable resistance was met in London partly due to the fact that the badge adopted was two champagne glasses and apart from a purely social get together no other activities had been considered.

Read here: >>> Minutes of the very first meeting on November 16th, 1934 when decision was taken to form a Skål Club of London.

Once the Paris Club got under way, other Clubs were formed on the continent, but it was only in 1934 when enough enthusiastic supporters were gathered together that the first formal meeting was held in the board room of Imperial Airways at Victoria on the 16th November 1934. This was followed by another meeting at the same venue on the 27th November when the Club was launched and those who attended these meetings declared Founder Members. They were:

J. Bamford; Air France
A. Bennett; Intourist
V. Crudge; Imperial Airways
C.A. Fisher; Pickfords
J.O. Fisher; Thomas Cook & Son
J. Wallace; Frame Frame Tours
E.I. Froshaug; Norwegian State Railways
W.E. Gilkes; Travel Topics
J.V. Howard; Thomas Cook & Son
H.R Jonckheere; Sabena Airways
A. de Jong; K.L.M. Airways
W.H. Knott; Bergenske & Co
W.S. Mars; Dean & Dawson
H. Ostelius; A.B.A Swedish Airlines
J.P. Reed; R.G. Bonsor & Co
A.C. Taylor; Thomas Cook & Son
R.W. Waugh; Imperial Airway
Mr Rast of the Skål Club of Lucerne also attended the meeting on the 27th November. By this time the International Association of Skål Clubs had been formed and London was member Club No. 14.

By 1939 the Club was firmly established with a membership of 250. On the outbreak of war all activities ceased and it was not until 1946 that any steps could be taken towards reviving the club. A meeting was held on the 6th February with some thirty five members present. The elate R.W Waugh, who had occupied the chair at the original meeting in 1934, found himself once more in the same position.

The membership was small in the early days, but had grown to 148 in 1946 and a year later reach 225. A substantial advance was made during 1948 and the membership rose to 326. A rule was adopted at the 1956 AGM limiting membership to 475, subsequently increased to 550.

The Club arranged the A.I.S.C World Congress held in London 138 and assisted in organising the 1951 Congress in Brighton and Bournemouth.

Memorable Moments in Skål London History

With the up-coming World Congress in Budapest later this year (2009) Past President (2003) Don Love writes:

I bit of Skål History which may be on use to you in the Hungarian year: In 1984 Liz and I spent Xmas in Buda Pest travelling by train via Ostende and Vienna. The London Committee charged me with the task of conveying fraternal greetings to the newly formed Skål Club in Budapest and Ernst Graefen handed me our pendant as the train was leaving Victoria Station.

I met my contact, Janos Menihart ,who was the manager of the Danube Hotel who greeted me warily because the existence of the new club was treated with suspicion by the authorities and we were the first visitors from another club. He told me that there were few members compared with London (how things have changed) and they met irregularly at different locations. The London pendant was duly presented but he had none to exchange.

I remember him saying that if they sneeze in Vienna today they catch a cold in Budapest tomorrow. The Hungarians are masters of the hotel business from way back and have emerged from old political regime and come a long way in the last 25 years.

- - - - - -

Geoffrey Pitt reflects on his year as President in 1967 and his membership since 1949:

England had just won the Football World Cup and the much revered Captain was arranged to be my Guest of Honour at a Skål Charity Luncheon. Not having any interest whatsoever in Sport I had absolutely no idea of the background or importance of my Guest - but we seemed to get on alright.

Reggie Vance was London Secretary for a great many years. He was made a Membre d'Honneur which was, and still is, most unusual for a Skål Member who was never involved in anything Internationally.

Ken Fox was Treasurer ( later president) also for a great many years. Mick Buck and I acted as his Auditors. He wrote the accounts out in the most impeccable copperplate. Heaven help Mike or I if we dare to spoil these with our corrections. We worked from Carbon Copies, ken later transferring corrections into his copperplate before finalisation.

In the heydays of the 50s London Club's monthly lunches were held in the Ballroom of the Dorchester Hotel, Park Lane. That gives some idea of what the numbers were like.

London Skål used to boast a very active Cricket Team one of whose annual needle matches was with Southampton Skål. London beat Southampton for 17 years so I (then member of Southampton ) decided to do something about this and the following year imported a couple of "ringers". When it became clear during the match that Southampton were doing unusually well a prominent London member and a Thomas Cook Manager got suspicious and started asking around about the travel background of some of the Southampton players. But Southampton were ahead of him and had equipped the "ringers" with loaned Skål membership cards. sadly, London Cricket eventually ceased. Happily Southampton still play cricket locally.

London held a function at the mighty Savoy Hotel. I was sitting next to a foreign visitor who said quietly to the waiter when the main course of roast pork arrived that he could not eat pork where up the waiter apologised and brought him a plate of ham! - - - - -

More to come .....

Past Presidents - Skål International London

1934 Roddy W Waugh

1935 - Roddy W Waugh

1936 - Roddy W Waugh

1937 - Sir George Broadbridge

1938 - Sir Harry Twyford

1939 - Sir George Broadbridge

1946 - Roddy W Waugh

1947 - Roddy W Waugh

1948 - Jack N Bamford

1949 - G L Walter

1950 - Victor J Kernan

1951 - R A "Bob" Smyrk

1952 - Bill W Boddy

1953 - Alan R Bennett

1954 - Alan R Bennett

1955 - Henry J A Hill

1956 - William "Bill" H Knott

1957 - Sidney G King

1958 - M D Morrisey

1959 - Jack L Grumbridge

1960 - Harry G Backhouse

1961 - Ken H Leach

1962 - David. Pollard

1963 - R A "Bob" Loraine

1964 - Kelvin Harris

1965 - David G Thomson

1966 - Leonard Olney

1967 - Geoffrey W Pitt

1968 - Arthur H J Tiley

1969 - Cyril J Munckton

1970 - Edmund W Vowles

1971 - Mac A Cowee

1972 - Douglas St Croix

1973 - Colin Bourne

1974 - Ray E Bogaert

1975 - F R "Sam" Savory

1976 - Denis Newman

1977 - John Daldry

1978 - E A "Ted" Challis

1979 - Roy C Gosling

1980 - Mick J O’Brien

1981 - Ken A G Fox

1982 - H J "Roy" Baxter

1983 - Rory M Buckney

1984 - Bob E Duffett

1985 - Alan G Dunlop

1986 - Laurie Stanbridge

1987 - Ernst L Greafen

1988 - Clayton D Joyce

1989 - Dennis Day

1990 - Robert Clarke

1991 - Joan Hawkes

1992 - Ted Woodham

1993 - Janet Kevan

1994 - Ted Theobald

1995 - Kenneth Katz

1996 - Brian McLean

1997 - Brian McLean

1998 - Colin Trigger

1999 - Tony Milhofer

2000 - Paul McLean

2001 - Mats Wivesson

2002 - Bill Mould

2003 - Donald Love

2004 - Paul Follows

2005 - Janet Kevan

2006 - Janet Kevan

2007 - David Williams

2008 - Mats Wivesson

2009 - Mats Wivesson

2010 - Robin Jackson

2011- Robin Jackson

2012- Alison Partridge

2013- Alison Partridge

2014- Paul Hoskins


 Skål London is twinned with:

London & New York

The Skål Clubs of London, UK and New York, USA were twinned on November 9th, 2010

London & Paris

The Skål Clubs of London, UK and Paris, France were twinned on April, 28th 2009.



Skål International
1934 -  2014

80 years servicing the Travel and Tourism Industry