10 January 2020 / Society Announcements

New for Members – a Society event

Members’ Social Visit To The Grand Order of Water Rats Headquarters and Museum

Wednesday 4th March 2020 2pm

In our recent member surveys several people were keen that the Society organise some social events and outings for its members.  We are very pleased to announce our first planned event: a visit to the Headquarters of The Grand Order of Water Rats, the showbusiness fraternity and charity founded by Music Hall performers in 1889.

The Water Rats took their name from a particularly fast racing pony who won a lot of money in the 1880’s for a syndicate of music hall artistes led by Joe Elvin. Finding themselves to be a very companionable as well as successful coterie, they established in 1890 the Select (soon to be The Grand) Order of Water Rats, adopting the motto ‘Philanthropy, Conviviality, and Social Intercourse’.  The bulk of the money won by the indefatigable pony went into a charitable fund dedicated to helping fellow artistes who were injured, sick, or had fallen on hard times.  It is now a registered UK charity still helping performers and their dependants who, because of old age or disability are unable to work. In recent times the net has broadened to helping any worthwhile cause the Trustees deem worthy which have included assististing with donations or by supplying equipment to Guy’s Hospital, Roy Castle’s Cause for Hope, International Spinal Research, Macmillan Cancer Fund, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Order of St. John, Brinsworth House and many others. They are affiliated with Acting for Others.

The event will include seeing their Lodge Room and their astonishing collection of theatrical memorabilia. You can watch a film, win a souvenir, browse their library, find out who they are and were, all the things they have done and are still doing – an absolute must for anyone interested in Music Hall and Variety.

This special opportunity is open exclusively to Members of the Society and their guests, and you can book online (NB please log in first!): full details here

If you have any queries, please email Mark Fox  (


Booking Deadline Wednesday 26 February 2020 – don’t miss out!