The first Round Table was formed in Norwich, England in 1927. The founder, Louis Marchesi, was a young member of Norwich Rotary Club who felt a need existed for a club where the young business men of the town could gather on a regular basis. In speech in front of Rotarian he stated:
And he pointed out the problem of change, which can only be achieved with young people. He realised, that this kind of change needs a new form of organisation – “Round Table”. At the meetings of this “Round Table” they could exchange ideas, learn from the experiences of their colleagues and play a collective part in the civic life of Norwich.
Within a year of inception the membership of this Round Table had grown to 85 and interest was being shown in establishing Round Tables elsewhere. From a very early stage it was agreed that Round Table would be a non-religious, non-political club and this has continued to this day. A second Round Table was established in Portsmouth and subsequent growth was rapid, with 125 Tables and a membership of 4,600 by the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Round Table proved it had international appeal with the first overseas Table formed in Copenhagen in 1936. During the war years Round Table in Denmark continued to expand although in the British Isles activity was restricted and was in the nature of a ‘holding operation’.
After 1945 the pattern of growth was rapidly re-established with Tables being ‘chartered’ all over the UK. Round Table now flourishes in the majority of European countries, throughout Africa, the Middle East, India, Hong Kong, New Zealand and America. In fact Round Table is represented in every continent of the World.