Every Monday we profile one of our Members. This week in we are joined by Proprietor 421, the Deputy Vice-President of The Athenaeum and Rector of Liverpool, The Reverend Dr. Crispin Pailing.
Who are you?
I am Crispin Pailing and I joined the Athenaeum when I became Rector of Liverpool nearly six years ago. By accident rather than design I am currently Deputy Vice President.
What is your greatest achievement?
As an inveterate self-publicist, I’m sure I could come up with a good selection. However, perhaps the one which I remember every day is that I am very good at enjoying myself and having fun. Unless we are facing particular challenges, I think it is best to relax into any situation we are given and revel in it.
Can you give one interesting fact about yourself?
My wife and I once sat for our portrait with an artist who trained under Stanley Spencer at the Slade and who decided that she wanted to paint us. It was a remarkable experience because she did more talking than painting, and used to send us off between sittings to go and look at details in particular paintings. Our portraitist had been married three times, but didn’t seem to be able to remember the name of her third husband, which always seemed counter-intuitive to us as he was the most recent). The painting now hangs in our dining room, although sadly the figures appear to remain the same age.
What brought you to The Athenaeum?
I don’t suppose there has been a Rector of Liverpool since the founding of the Club who has not been a member, and certainly a few of them appear on the list of Presidents. It’s a very useful place to be a member: as well as people and activities, the facilities are superb. Depending on the day, my favourite room might be the Library, the Newsroom, or the Dining Room.
Is there anything you would change about the Athenaeum?
I am someone who loves change, so the answer is bound to be yes, although I can’t say I have a specific proposal to put on the table at the moment. However, I think the direction of travel should be to continue to be relevant and useful to the city community around us, and that means identifying the needs which the Club does not currently meet and being open to adapt to them.
What would you say to anyone considering joining the Club?
Do it! Do it because the chairs are more comfortable than in Costa, a glass of wine is cheaper than the Racquets Club, and the ambience is gentler than Rigby’s. Do it because it’s part of Liverpool’s heritage. And do it because you will meet the friends you haven’t yet discovered.
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