Every Monday we profile one of our Members. This week we are joined by Share Holder 424, Jan Atkinson, who was recently elected to The Athenaeum Governing Board at October’s AGM.
Who are you?
Born in Denbigh, N. Wales but with a Liverpudlian mum I spent lots of time in Liverpool as a child visiting grandparents and family before moving here in 1971 and have been here ever since apart from one year I spent in Germany. I worked at the University of Liverpool for 13 years with a research group who did Health Technology Assessment for NICE. I was the admin monkey looking after 20 academics and the research budget.
I have two daughters who I’m pleased to say have grown into smart, independent young women. I have lots of hobbies, reading, gardening, Harley Davidson motorbikes and the like but my main ones are lace making and drumming. I’ve been a member of the West Lancashire Lacemakers since about 1990 and spent about 17 years on the committee as Treasurer, Chairman and President.
What is your greatest achievement?
This was a difficult one to answer and needed some thought but I think my greatest personal achievement was taking part in the Notting Hill Carnival in 2019. If someone had told me five years ago that I would be part of an international Samba Drumming Band I’d have laughed. But in November 2016 I joined Batala Mersey as a ‘newbie’ and it opened up a whole new world to me. I’ve met so many people from so many countries as a result and had so much fun along the way. I’ve drummed with 250 drummers on the island of Paros, in the San Francisco Carnival and twice at the Badajoz Carnival plus dozens of local gigs. However taking part in Notting Hill last year was just an amazing experience; 200 drummers from 33 bands in 15 countries coming together for two days of rehearsal then drumming for four hours on the hottest bank holiday on record is a memory that will stay with me for a long time.
Can you give one interesting fact about yourself?
I was a Census Enumerator for the 2001 Census which was interesting as I spend a lot of time looking at previous census returns for my family history research so to be a part of one was special.
What brought you to The Athenaeum?
I’d attended several military related dinners and events at the Athenaeum and finally succumbed to Ken Orme’s badgering that I join in 2013, a decision I regret not making earlier. I am now one of the library stewards and have even been doing a little cataloguing!
Is there anything you would like to change about the Athenaeum?
Another tricky one but as with all things we have to move with the times and keep current to attract new members. I would like to see a change to the opening hours and to include regular Saturday opening.
Do you have any Athenaeum memories or stories that you’d wish to share?
As one of the library stewards I was asked if I’d like to help sorting a wide variety of documents and ‘stuff’ back in January and spent a very interesting day in the basement going through boxes of very dusty papers. I’ve got a half written article about the day which I’m hoping will go in the newsletter one day.
What would you say to anyone considering joining the Club?
Do it! You won’t regret it. The Athenaeum is like nowhere else in Merseyside, so much history and a library to die for. A great place to make new friends, meet up with old friends and chat over a drink or two or attend one of the many social events (hopefully resuming soon, post COVID).