History of the British Business Club Düsseldorf e.V.

Our club founded on 8 July 1958, when a group of British businessmen gathered at Friedrich-Lau-Str. 13 to form what was then called The British Businessmen’s Luncheon Club Düsseldorf.

The first official meeting did not take place until a year later, when the Club’s first committee was appointed, with Mr H J Bowe, HM Vice-Consul as the first Hon. Chairman. The Committee was also made up of an Hon. Secretary, Hon. Treasurer, a Catering Officer and a Toast Master. While the post of Toast Master died out in 1963, the Catering Officer survived a further three years.

The first Honorary President of the Club was Her Majesty’s Consul-General in Düsseldorf, Mr R G A Meade, and this has become an unbroken tradition, with Nick Russell the current President.

On 4 December 1962, the Club was officially registered in the Vereinsregister under VR4502 as -:

“The British Businessmen’s Club, Düsseldorf e.V”

The Club has a long tradition of close ties with the British Forces in Germany, first established in 1965 when Colonel F H Potter OBE, Station Commander, Düsseldorf, became the Club’s Hon. Vice- President. Sadly, with the departure of the British Army from Germany, the link has disappeared, although there are still close contacts with the British Legion.

The Club followed a regular format of a monthly meeting on the first Tuesday of the month, which included a meal and a guest speaker in a number of locations, such as prominent hotels and the Industrie Club.

After many years of debate, the Club eventually voted for businesswomen to be permitted as members in 1997 . Thelma Matuk became the first female member of the Club in 1997 and later the Club’s first lady chairman in 2012.

It would take another ten years before the Club was renamed British Business Club Düsseldorf e.V.

The Club has been privileged to host many distinguished people as after lunch or after dinner speakers in its first 60 years of its existence, as you will soon see.

BBCD Speakers from the World of Politics

  • Sir Edward Heath – Former Prime Minister
  • Denis Healey – Former Defence Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer
  • Ken Livingstone – Former Mayor of London
  • Michael Portillo  – Former Conservative Minister and TV personality
  • Baroness Shirley Williams  – Former Labour Minister an SDP founder
  • Clement Freud  –  Former Liberal MP and TV entertainer
  • Edwina Currie – Former Conservative Minister and author
  • Oberbürgermeister Thomas Geisel – Previous Mayor of Düsseldorf
  • Lord Michael Bates – Deputy Speaker and Deputy Chairman of House of Lords

BBCD Speakers from the Media World

  • Sir Patrick Moore  –  Astronomer and TV Legend
  • Michael Bentine  – Comedian and original Goon
  • Ray Alan  – Ventriloquist with Lord Charles
  • David Jacobs  – Veteran DJ, TV and radio personality
  • Michael Fish  –  TV Weatherman
  • Roger Mosey – Former Senior Executive at BBC and currentMaster of Selwyn College, Cambridge University

BBCD Speakers from the Sporting World

  • Sir Henry Cooper –  British Heavyweight Boxing Champion
  • Farouk Engineer – West Indian Wicket Keeper
  • Christopher Martin-Jenkins – Cricket Commentator
  • Sir Trevor Brooking – England Footballer and TV Pundit
  • Sir Chay Blythe – Around-the-World Yachtsman
  • Fiery Fred Trueman – Yorkshire and England Fast Bowler

BBCD Speakers from the World of Business & Commerce

  • Bernd Pischetsrieder – Former Chairman, BMW Group, Volkswagen Group
  • Reinhard Künstler – Former Chairman, Jaguar Germany
  • Richard Noble – Light Aircraft Manufacturer and holder of the World’s Land Speed Record
  • Sir Robert Stheeman – CEO of the UK Debt Management Office
  • Lord Digby Jones  –  Former Director General of the CBI and State for Trade & Investment
  • David J. Haynes, Former Chairman, Grohe AG, Düsseldorf
  • Oz Alashe MBE, CEO and Founder, CybSafe Ltd
  • Oliver Church, CEO and Founder, Orpheus Ltd
  • Anthony Ginsbery, CEO GinsGlobal Index Funds
  • Robert Green, Managing Director of Klingenburg GmbH, Gladbeck