History of Rotary

“Whatever Rotary may mean to us, to the world it will be known by the results it achieves.”

 — Paul P. Harris



The Rotary Foundation is one of the “Greatest Charities in the World” with 1.4 million members of staff in 35,000 Rotary clubs throughout 200 countries, all working as volunteers. It spends £1,000,000 dollars A DAY on communities throughout the world. The Rotary organisation started with the vision of one man—Paul P. Harris. The Chicago attorney formed one of the world’s first service organizations, the Rotary Club of Chicago, on 23 February 1905 as a place where professionals with diverse backgrounds could exchange ideas and form meaningful, lifelong friendships. Rotary’s name came from the group’s early practice of rotating meetings among the offices of each member. Within five years clubs had formed across the country, from San Francisco to New York.

In August 1910, Rotarians held their first convention in Chicago. The 16 clubs that existed at that time united to form the National Association of Rotary Clubs. In 1912, the name changed to International Association of Rotary Clubs to reflect the addition of clubs in other countries. The name Rotary International was adopted in 1922. By July 1925, Rotary had grown to more than 2,000 clubs and an estimated 108,000 members  on six continents.


For further information about the Rotary please visit the below links:

Rotary International

Rotary in Great Britain and Ireland

Rotary District 1110 Wessex


History of Shaftesbury Rotary

Established 8th March 1963

Whilst Shaftesbury is part of a worldwide organisation and guided by policy and procedure, we are autonomous in our everyday activities. We choose when and where to meet, how we run our club and who we decide to support by involvement or finance. As part of Rotary International there is a structure which we work within and report to when necessary, Shaftesbury Rotary is part of a local grouping which includes Blandford, Gillingham, Sturminster, Wimborne, Ferndown, Swanage/Purbeck and Wareham. This group will often work together, competing in sports and socialising.There is a communication path from individual clubs or groups to our ‘District 1110‘ who in turn deal directly with Rotary International Great Britain & Ireland (RIBI) who have the overall responsibilities for all UK Rotary Clubs. Finally, RIBI responds to Rotary International (RI) in the USA.


The full history of our club, is currently being researched.

Original Rotary Club

Newspaper article from the 1963 Charter Ceremony