THE BRITISH GRADUATES SOCIETY started in Athens in October 1958. At that time two Oxford graduates, Professor Dimitris Nianias and Douglas Blythe, recognizing the need to keep alive their academic ties with Britain and with other British graduates in Greece, laid the foundations for the Society.
Initially membership was limited to male graduates who had completed a full academic course in Britain but subsequently, by the mid-60’s, the membership was enlarged to admit female graduates as well as those who had done post-graduate studies in Britain.
Inevitably the first few meetings involved a relatively small number of people and dinners were held with everyone seated at a single long table. As the numbers increased members were grouped at a series of tables and a “top table” was established. Meetings were held regularly even through the Junta period though during that time special permission had to be obtained from the Athens Security Department.
During all those years the Society had taken on the form of informal meetings at a dinner where a guest speaker was invited to address the meeting. A variety of eminent speakers, both Greek and British addressed the Society and as a historic record it is interesting to mention some of them here:
In the 1960’s: Dr. Constantine Doxiades, Professor H.D.F. Kitto, Professor D.L. Page, Sir George W. Pickering, Mr. George Plytas, Professor K.B.S. Smellie
In the 1970’s: Professor Colin Buchanan, Dr. H.W. Catling, Professor Nicholas Hammond, Mr. John Sakellarakis, Professor Alexandros Trypanis, Mrs. Eleni Vlachou, Mr. Francis Walton
In the 1980’s: Professor Manolis Andronikos, Sir Bernard Braine, Dr. Alexander King, Mr. Brian Patten, Professor John Pesmazoglou, Sir Steven Runciman, Col. C.M. Woodhouse
In the 1990’s: Mr. Dimitris Avramopoulos, Mrs. Niki Goulandris, Lord Jenkins, Mr. Stephanos Manos, Sir David Orr, Mr. Michael Papaconstantinou