Every Monday we profile one of our Members. This week in we are joined by Proprietor 272, Ken Pye.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of The Athenaeum.
Who are you?
I am Ken Pye, a born and bred Liverpudlian. I am enormously proud of these
facts, and of my city, region, and of my fellow Liverpudlians.
As a boy I trained as a mechanical engineer with the Metal Box Company in Speke. However, at the age of twenty I changed direction radically. This was to begin an entirely new career working with children and young people who had special emotional, educational, and physical needs. Over the years this developed into Youth and Community work across Merseyside, which itself evolved into entrepreneurship and new-business-development work with young adults, in a variety of communities.
Eventually, this led me to spend the final fifteen years of my career generating and strengthening high-quality standards of ethical, professional leadership and management expertise. This was across all sectors in Liverpool City Region and beyond, in the UK and Europe. I retired in 2016, but remain active across the region whilst indulging my special interest as an author, broadcaster, and lecturer on the history of Liverpool and Merseyside.
What is your greatest achievement?
Personally, I am proudest of my wonderful wife and grown-up children, who have each achieved their own high standards of personal and professional achievement.
Professionally, I am proudest of the early work I undertook in two of the region’s residential children’s homes; and as the Community Worker for Toxteth before, during, and following the Toxteth Riots of 1981. I am particularly proud that, for 10 years and from Liverpool, I led the most successful Common Purpose organisation in the history of this worldwide Leadership Development organisation.
I am especially honoured by my life-long association with Liverpool Hope University, and of my fellowship of this institution.
What is also gratifying is that I have written and published seventeen books; a series of eight, filmed documentaries; a series of four, audio CDs; and two sets of fact sheets, all on local history. I also completed two private commissions for the 19th Earl of Derby, and one for Liverpool Hope University. I shall be publishing two new history books ~ one in 2022 and the next in 2023.
Can you give one interesting fact about yourself?
In the late 1960s I was the lead singer in two pop groups.
What brought you to the Athenaeum?
In 2000, I was sponsored by the then proprietor, Tayo Aluko. To my knowledge he was the first Black proprietor of the Athenaeum, and he held, significantly and purely by chance, the William Roscoe share! His recommendation was convincingly enthusiastic; however, it was the Club Library that guaranteed my application.
This was because, in just twenty minutes, and in a completely random exploration of the shelves, drawers, and portfolios, I read an eye-witness account of the burning at the stake of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, in 1556; found a complete list and descriptions of all the locomotives entered in the Rainhill Steam Trials of 1830; discovered a contemporary pencil sketch of Joseph Williamson, the ‘Mole of Edge Hill’; and identified who had originally built, and the subsequent occupants of, my then house in Sefton Park.
Is there anything you would change about the Athenaeum?
I would certainly encourage and strengthen the governance, management, and administration of the Club as it becomes genuinely democratic, representative, responsive, and transparent.
What would you say to anyone considering joining the Club?
Go for it! But play an active part. Make a constructive and positive contribution to its life, and to its positive, independent influence, in the wider community and professional life of Liverpool and its City Region.