(A Probus Club founded by F. J. Carnill in 1965)

"A Simple Idea"

In 1965 the population of Welwyn Garden City had grown to about 40,000 from less than 800 in 1921. Fred Carnill, who moved to the Garden City some eight years after its foundation and was an enthusiastic member of the local Rotary club, had retired but found a conspicuous lack of facilities for men in his situation.

His 'simple idea', as he put it, was the formation of a lunch club to serve as a focal point for the development of fellowship and social activity among men of similar age and background.

The name 'Campus Club' was chosen because the location of the first meeting overlooked the pleasant area of Welwyn Garden City's 'Campus'. Lunch meetings, it was decided, would be held on the first Thursday of each month, as they still are. Over the years the Club has met for lunch at several venues but is now established at the Homestead Court Hotel. Fred Carnill was elected its first chairman.

By 1971, membership had grown to 119 and Carnill's 'simple idea' was being developed through the formation of a large number of similar clubs across Britain, the generic name 'Probus' (standing for Professional and Business) having been generally adopted.

The full history of the Campus Club is available in a printed booklet which was first issued in 1990. The content was written by Dr Enid Ball who was the wife of Peter Ball, then a member of the committee. A first supplement which is included in the booklet was added in 1994 during Peter Ball's reign as chairman. The current version includes a recently issued second supplement bringing the club's history right up to date and can be found by clicking here. "Campus Club History Booklet.pdf"


Probus is the association for retired and semi-retired men who join together in autonomous clubs throughout the UK and the world.

The word PROBUS is an abbreviation of the words PROfessional and BUSiness, however, membership is not restricted to just professional businesspeople. Probus also embraces former executives of government and other organisations - any person who has had some measure of responsibility in any field of endeavour.

The basic purpose of a Probus Club is to provide regular gatherings of persons who, in retirement, appreciate and value opportunities to meet others in similar circumstances with a similar level of interest.