Message From The President – 31/03/2020

 I thought that if I was going to write something this week, I should do it today and not wait until tomorrow – April Fools Day. I am sure that if we had been told that we would have to isolate ourselves in our homes on the 1st April we would all have thought it was an elaborate April Fool joke. Unfortunately, that is not the case and the true extent of the health crisis facing us is beginning to feel real.  There is good news, the efforts put in by everyone do seem to be paying off but there is still a long way to go. However in among all of the bad news there is lots of good and although there still seem to be people who are not being considerate of others there are many more who are doing their best to make sure we do not become too despondent.

Not least amongst these are some of our own members and I am sure you will all join me in thanking Paul McCarthy for his extremely entertaining and informative quizzes which greet us every day.  Personally, I have had mixed fortunes. I was very good on the first one – my general knowledge of animals served me in good stead, and quite good on the Liverpool questions, although to be honest I can’t remember ever noticing that Bessie Braddock was holding an egg, never mind knowing why.  (That little gem is definitely being added to my visitor information pack).  My space knowledge was rather more limited. There was quite a lot of ‘I’m sure I know the answer but ……’  Thank you Paul.

I also know you will all want to thank our Hon Treasurer, Martin, for his excellent work in keeping us all up to date with the financial position.  Martin has been working tirelessly and I cannot aye how much I appreciate all his efforts.

This missive is not meant to be too serious though.  I am lucky to live in Lydiate about 5 minutes walk from the fields and lanes of the Lancashire plain. Having two dogs I have been making the most of the opportunity to get out and enjoy my one daily walk with them. Last week the weather was beautiful and during one walk I heard a woodpecker, saw potatoes being harvested and then saw some oyster catchers enjoying the newly ploughed up earth. On another morning the sun was shining, the sky was blue and in one of the fields, still showing the signs of the heavy rain we had earlier in the year, there was an expanse of water which was the most beautiful shade of turquoise.  One of my walks takes me past a market garden and in a field opposite their greenhouses there was a mound of earth which had been dumped with the remains of past plantings – a rather sad but beautiful array of abandoned flowers – pansies and primroses in every shade.  In other fields the farmers have been working hard and showing that life carries on as normal and many of the fields are now ploughed and waiting for their new crops.  

I hope that you are finding ways of keeping yourselves occupied but I thought I would end this one with a little challenge of my own.

Take a look at the cartoon below and see how many well-known phrases or figures of speech you can come up with.  There are supposed to be 27 although quite a few more can be found. I will send out the 27 answers which the cartoonist used to design the picture tomorrow but see what you can do in the meantime.

One to start with:

                The cat’s got his tongue

Very best wishes to you all


Temporary Closure – Covid-19

Dear all,

The Main Committee met this morning (Tuesday 17th March) as a matter of urgency to consider the escalation of the Covid-19 threat and its impact on Club in terms of the safety of staff, Proprietors and visitors.

In considering an appropriate response the Committee were mindful of our membership, government recommendations and the very real risk of voluntary isolation becoming more prevalent.

In taking all of these factors into account, the Committee has made the decision to close the Club with effect from the end of business today, until Monday 4th May. This will be regularly reviewed by the Club Secretary and Officers of the Institution and any relevant news will be published as it comes to hand.

This decision is not one that has been taken likely and many of our Proprietors will have been involved in similar decisions within other organisations that they are involved with and have an understanding of the complexities of a rapidly changing environment. The Committee’s main consideration is to ensure that everyone connected with The Athenaeum is kept as safe as possible. 

This is a difficult time and each of us is faced with our private and professional challenges, and I hope that we can rely both on your understanding and support as we look forward to welcoming the membership back into the Institution as soon as is practicable.

As part of the agreed plan, the phone lines will move to voicemail this evening, and the email address of the Club Secretary ( will be given to all callers. This will be monitored daily and Proprietors may expect a response to any questions that you may have in a timely fashion. Over the next couple of days, the Club Secretary will be in regular email contact with further information and a series of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) will appear on the website.

Lastly, may I take the opportunity, as has been reiterated elsewhere, to remind you that regular contact with your friends, by telephone or email will be the best indication of your concern for their well-being, and will be appreciated more than face to face visits. The majority of the Member’s email addresses and telephone numbers, should they have been approved, are available through the Members’ Area of the website and contact between Proprietors is naturally encouraged.

Stay safe and well, with every good wish,

Dr Gaynor Bresnen


Tuesday 17 March 2020

Might This Be Of Interest: October 2019

Might This Be Of Interest’ is dedicated to items not strictly Club related, but may be of interest to the Membership. If you have any items that ‘Might This Be Of Interest’ please contact Jack Birley.

There are two items which ‘may be of interest’ to report;


LMI Exhibition – Spanish Flu Event Day, 12 October 2019 

Our friends at the Liverpool Medical Institution (LMI) are holding an exhibition on Saturday 12 October at LMI, it is free to attend and no booking is required. Full details of the event can be found at


Mozart’s Requiem – 16 November 2019

In November, Proprietor Mr Lee Ward. will be conducting a concert at the Liverpool Cathedral with both the Liverpool and Metropilitan Cathedral Choirs and the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra. Full details of the concert can be found below.




































The Athenaeum Members Get People’s Project Update










Everton CEO Prof. Denise Barrett-Baxendale and Stadium Development Director Colin Chong were the special guests at The Athenaeum for a question and answer session entitled ‘More Than a Game’.

The event, held in the splendour of The Athenaeum’s library, one of the greatest propriety libraries in the UK, gave members of the 222-year old Liverpool institution an insight into Everton’s plans for a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock and how a community-led legacy at Goodison Park could become an exemplar development.

Founded in 1797 The Athenaeum has remained true to its founding principles and the opportunities it provides for members to meet and enjoy the company of friends and acquaintances through a varied events programme. Addressing an influential audience made up of some of the city’s key business and legal minds Denise and Colin explained how a new stadium at Bramley-Moore Dock will not only provide a platform for the growth of the Club but also have a transformational socio-economic impact on North Liverpool and the wider Liverpool City Region – delivering a £1 billion boost to the economy, the potential for up to 15,000 jobs, bringing 1.5million new visitors to the city and more than £237 million of societal value.

Guests also heard about Everton’s plans to respect and accentuate the maritime heritage of the dock site as well as how the Club plans to build on the life-changing and life-saving work of Everton in the Community to develop a community-led legacy at Goodison Park.

Stadium Development Director Colin Chong said: “We are currently embarking on our second stage public consultation and this has been an extension of that programme. It was a pleasure for Denise and I to be invited to The Athenaeum, such a historic institution in our city to talk to their esteemed members about our plans. The positive feedback we received tonight, echoes what we have heard throughout our consultation period. All the feedback we receive is invaluable to us and will be used in our planning application submissions, which are on track to be submitted before the end of 2019.”

Dr Gaynor Bresnen, President of The Athenaeum, added: “The Athenaeum has been at the centre of debate and decision making in our great city for more than 200 years.  We are delighted to have hosted Everton Football Club this evening and look forward to the positive impact that their Bramley-Moore Dock stadium project will have on the much-needed regeneration of North Liverpool.

The People’s Project second stage public consultation is currently touring the city region and will be visiting Goodison Park on Saturday 17 August and New Brighton on Sunday 18 August. For those unable to attend the roadshow the consultation will remain open until Sunday 25 August. All the consultation materials can be viewed online by visiting


Might This Be Of Interest: Liverpool Mozart Orchestra

‘Might This Be Of Interest’ is dedicated to items not strictly Club related, but may be of interest to the Membership. If you have any items that ‘Might This Be Of Interest’ please contact Jack Birley.

The below event is not affiliated with the Athenaeum, however, has been organised in conjunction with a Proprietor.

This Saturday, 23rd March, the Liverpool Mozart Orchestra (whose players include Proprietor Mr Howard Rogers) will be performing at the Capstone Theatre, Liverpool Hope University, 17 Shaw Street, L6 1HP.  The concert starts at 7:30pm with a pre-concert talk at 6:45 pm.  The evening is entitled French Influences and will include Sibelius (Pelleas et Melisande), Chopin (Piano Concerto No.2) and Poulenc (Sinfonietta).  Tickets are £15 for adults, £13.50 Senior Citizens, £5.00 17 and over in full-time education and FREE for 16 and under.  Full details at

Might This Be Of Interest: Christine’s Marathon Effort!

‘Might This Be Of Interest’ is dedicated to items not strictly Club related, but may be of interest to the Membership. If you have any items that ‘Might This Be Of Interest’ please contact Jack Birley.

In May of this year, Proprietor, Christine Bispham, is taking part in the 2019 MoonWalk, a full moon marathon (26.2 miles) to raise money for the Walk The Walk Breast Cancer Charity.

Full details of Christine’s story and how to donate to this worthy cause can be found here: 

Best of luck Christine!!!

Might This Be Of Interest? : School Governors Wanted

Did you know there is currently a national drive by the National Governor’s Association to recruit skilled governors to our schools?

School governors and trustees make a valuable contribution to children’s education, opportunities and futures.

Being a school governor or trustee is a challenging but hugely rewarding role. It will give you the chance to make a real difference to young people, give something back to your local community and use and develop your skills in a board-level environment. You will also be joining the largest volunteer force in the country: there are over a quarter of a million volunteers governing state funded schools in England.

Schools need governing boards that have a balance and diversity of knowledge, skills and experience to enable it to be effective. Ofsted (the national inspection body for schools) has repeatedly noted that the most effective schools demonstrate effective leadership and management – including by the governing board.

The National Governor’s Association ( have a simple way of registering an interest in becoming a governor or trustee.

To volunteer as a school governor or trustee sign up with Inspiring Governors ( This free online service connects volunteers with schools that need governors or trustees. Once you have created your profile including your skills, preferences and a brief personal statement, you can:

  • View governor/ trustee vacancies in your local area and contact schools that you are interested in
  • Be contacted by schools that are looking for governors/ trustees with particular skills


I have been a proprietor at The Athenaeum for the last 5 years. I am also a chair of governors on two Multi-Academy Boards, chair at a Special School, chair at a large Secondary School all based in Wirral. I have also become a governor at a secondary school in Liverpool.

I am also a National Leaders of Governance and one of 400 in the country. I am trained to review governance structures in schools and Multi-Academy Trusts either as a regular evaluation of their work or as a result of a poor Ofsted outcome. I also offer free support to chairs of governors and I work nationally.

I was delighted to have been awarded an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen for services to education in Wirral.

I would urge Proprietors, or their family members, to consider becoming a governor or a trustee.

I am happy to be contacted if anyone wishes to discuss the role further. My contact details are on my website


Jane Owens MBE FRSA