Throughout lockdown, as many people have taken the opportunity to Spring clean, many members and relatives of former members have found and donated various archival objects and memorabilia related to ROSL, found languishing in lofts and at the back of cupboards the world over. 

The material ranges from letters and promotional booklets to Life Membership cards and badges, all commemorating the joyful times their owners spent at the club.

Usually, donations of archival materials come in gradually, but there seemed to be a particular influx during the late 1990s – early 2000s, according to the correspondence that has been archived along with the objects. Take a look at some of the most interesting finds we received at the time:

A metal emblem of the Over-Seas League was sent in June 2000. It might have been a part of the O. S. Car Badge, a souvenir that was available for purchase for members around 1950, as was advertised in the OS journal.

OS enamel badge

A donation to the archives from 1997 included the list of events of ROSL from the years 1974 and 1980. The latter mentioned one of HM The Queen’s visits to the clubhouse, which were especially notable days in the life of the club. Moreover, those programme leaflets contained its owner’s notes and comments, which makes the object even more special. For example, the member in possession seemed to be particularly interested in the Discussion Circle event “Are Ancient Buildings Worth Preserving?” that was held in the Hall of India and Pakistan in autumn of 1975. Given our own efforts to preserve Over-Seas House, I'm sure members today would agree that they were!

Old event programmes

In February 2000, then Director-General Robert Newell received a letter from a ROSL member’s widow, who not only donated her husband’s membership cards dating back to 1940-54, but also enclosed a memoir he had written about his years as a Japanese P.O.W. Materials like this help us to find out more about the lives of our members, discover their stories and form a fuller picture of what the Royal Over-Seas League was at the time.

Membership card 1940

It is one of our goals to collect and compile a cohesive archival collection for our historical goals and values to be clearly defined and communicated. In case you or your family are long-standing members and happen to find any interesting material related to their time at ROSL, do not hesitate to share it with us either as a donation, or by sending a photo/scan to our in-house archivist at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We look forward to discovering more exciting stories and new details of your experience at ROSL!

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