The Jerome K Jerome Society

And how to join.

The Society was formed in 1984 with the main object of stimulating interest in and public awareness of the life and works of Jerome K. Jerome. The incentive to its formation was the opening, in July 1984, of a small museum in Belsize House, Walsall – the author’s birthplace. A major aim is to provide financial support to the museum so that it may stand as a lasting memorial to Jerome in the town of his birth and serve as a focus for all devotees of the man and his works.

In addition, the Society exists to provide opportunities for interested people to meet, correspond and share their enjoyment of his works, to promote lectures and exhibitions and to encourage research into Jerome’s life and writings. Members, as well as knowing that their subscriptions will be used wholly to support these objectives, will receive Newsletters about the Society’s activities. Members are eligible to attend the Annual Dinner, (held on or about 2nd May, the anniversary of Jerome’s birth) the Christmas Carol Concert and other social events.

The building had languished in a semi-derelict state for many years, much to the disgust of Walsall’s literati. When the property eventually came up for sale in 1984 Gordon H. Foster M.B.E took a great risk and bought it and, with the help of a modest grant (it is a listed building), restored it and created, on the groundfloor, two rooms dedicated to the memory of Jerome K. Jerome.

Walsall Borough Council contributed numerous artefacts to the museum which was thought up and designed by Sarah Elsom, the then Curator of Walsall Museum and Art Gallery.

However, the Council took the view that they had done all they were prepared to and said that if the museum was to be kept open a Jerome K. Jerome Society would have to be formed to raise funds on an annual basis for this purpose. The Society was duly formed with the main object of stimulating interest in, and public awareness of, the life and works of Jerome K. Jerome while at the same time providing financial support to the museum.

After a slow start the Society has flourished wonderfully and now has members from all parts of the globe including America, Madagascar, Canada, Australia and Italy. Its members include the Ambassador to the Australian Embassy in Vienna and a large London contingent (which is, after all, where Jerome spent most of his life).

Members of the Society, whilst supporting this very good cause also manage to enjoy themselves at every opportunity. They don straw boaters and striped blazers and take to the boats fortified by Champagne and memories of Jerome’s intrepid trio (to say nothing of the dog).

The annual dinner has become a really sparkling event and has featured many illustrious guest speakers including Benny Green, Miles Kington, Barry Cryer, Hubert Gregg, Jeremy Nicholas, Richard Stilgoe, Roy Hattersley, Libby Purves, Henry Kelly, Gyles Brandreth, John Julius Norwich and Sir Donald Sinden.

As for the Society’s newsletter, this has blossomed into a magazine called Idle Thoughts which emulates the wit and humour and general joie de vivre of Jerome. It is a mix of serious articles and the sort of levity and puncturing of dignity which Jerome would have enjoyed.

So why not join us on the party boat? For further information see below.

Membership

The following categories of membership are available:

  • Single Member
  • Family Member
  • Student Member
  • Corporate Member
  • £12.00 p.a.
  • £15.00 p.a.
  • £8.00 p.a.
  • £30.00 p.a.

To join please contact:

John Shipley,
Membership Secretary,
Jerome K. Jerome Society,

Address

The Laurels,
1 Knight’s Hill,
Aldridge,
Walsall,
WS9 0TG.

Email

membership@jeromekjerome.com