THE VERY BEGINNING

The Anglo-Swedish Society was one of several Anglo-European Societies established immediately after the First World War to promote greater understanding and friend-ship between nations. The impulse was clear: never again!

The Society’s first chairman, Sir Henry Penson, explained that it had been formed “to promote intellectual intercourse between the peoples of the British Empire and Sweden, assistance in arranging an interchange in educational facilities and the encouragement of reciprocal travel “. From an early stage, successful applicants were awarded travel stipends to undertake “a definite course of study”. These applicants tended to be from the Universities of Oxford or Cambridge.

In the two years after the establishment of the Anglo-Swedish Society in London, sister organisations were set up in Sweden: the British-Swedish Society in Stockholm in 1919 and the Anglo-Swedish Society in Gothenburg in 1920. The three worked closely together, and helped each other set up lending libraries. Summer holiday courses were soon orgnised in Sweden, comprising the “Swedish language, physical culture and gymnastics”. The courses received support from members of the Swedish Royal family and business enterprises in Sweden, who placed their houses and hospitality at the disposal of the Society.

A the Society’s headquarters at 10 Staple Inn, High Holborn, there were an office, club room and library. From here, an information service for Swedish visitors to London was also provided. By the 1930s, a thriving exchange programme between British and Swedish school children had been established.

In 1922, the Swedish Travel Association (also founded 1918) was amalgamated with the Anglo-Swedish Society. Its aims were to “afford opportunities for Swedish journalists to visit the United Kingdom”.

Presidents

Chairmen

Antonis MarinisAlexander Malmaeus