Lyceum Clubs began operating in London in the early 1910s, when author and journalist Constance Smedley (1876 – 1941) began planning her own club activities for women, in the same vein as men had their own clubs. Smedley introduced her idea to some writers and artists but was turned down by them. Then she turned to educated and working women who were interested in culture and the arts.
Lyceum Club started operating in London in 1904, at 128 Piccadilly, with financial support from Constance Smedney’s father.
The Club’s activities expanded rapidly to Europe: Berlin in 1905, Paris in 1906, and the expansion continues.
Lyceum Club comes to Finland
Lyceum Club expanded to Finland in the early 1930s. Helsinki Lyceum Club was founded in 1932 (www.helsinginlyceumklubi.fi). Turku Lyceum Club operated from 1971 to 2019. Oulu Lyceum Club was founded on March 15, 1988, by 18 cultural women. Four of these founding members are still active members of the Club. The Club turns 35 in 2023.
The Name of Lyceum Club
The founders of Lyceum Club chose the name Lyceum after the so-called Lyceum centers, which were operating in the United States in the 1910s. These hosted lectures and discussion groups.
The Latin word Lyceum comes from the Greek word Lykeion. This was a gymnasium in ancient Athens, a place for gymnastics and sports, where also the philosopher Aristotle taught his pupils while walking outdoors.
The archeological site of Lykeion is located in the eastern part of the modern center of Athens.
See also: IALC.