Royal Over-Seas League

The Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL) is a not-for-profit members’ organisation with international headquarters in its clubhouse in central London, England. It is also a major supporter of the arts, most notably with its prestigious annual music competition.

Royal Over-Seas League
MottoUbique Navigavimus
Formation1910 (1910)
TypeNon-profit members’ organisation
Legal statusIncorporated by Royal Charter
PurposeThe support of international understanding and friendship through social, musicical, artistic and welfare activities.
HeadquartersOverseas House, Park Place
London, SW1
Queen Elizabeth II
Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy
Director General
Dr Diana Owen
Key people
Evelyn Wrench (1882–1966), founder

Founded by Sir Evelyn Wrench in 1910 as the Over-Seas Club, it was given a Royal Charter of Incorporation in 1922 and Queen Elizabeth II granted the title "Royal" to mark its golden jubilee in 1960. Wrench saw the British Empire of the time as not merely a political and economic structure, but also "a far-flung brotherhood of individual men and women of diverse creeds and races living widely apart under differing conditions in different latitude".

The league today is both an association of individual members and a supporter of Commonwealth art, music and welfare projects. The ROSL clubhouse in Edinburgh closed in January 2018, but ROSL continues to have a national and international presence from honorary representatives, a network of branches and reciprocal clubs in more than 100 countries.

Facilities and activities

Accommodation, dining and conference facilities are offered at the London clubhouses. The London clubhouse is at the end of Park Place, a cul-de-sac off St James's Street in the West End backing onto Green Park and has its own private garden.

The clubhouse and the regional branches organise a variety of cultural and social events for members, such as backstage tours of London attractions, wine tastings, literary lectures and visits to shows and performances. The league has an in-house magazine, Overseas published quarterly, which comprises contemporary features written by renowned journalists, members’ articles, news from regional branches, and information about forthcoming events.


Prospective members of the Royal Over-Seas League must be proposed by an existing member, and seconded by another of "recognised standing". Full members must be a national of a Commonwealth member state. Those from other countries may only become associate members.[1]

There are 16,000 members worldwide at the various international branches. Membership fees are based on proximity to the London clubhouse, or age (under 30s enjoy a reduced rate of membership). Members who have held their membership for a period of 30 continuous years also pay a reduced subscription.[2]


For over 65 years ROSL ARTS has developed a diverse portfolio of activities in music, visual arts, and literature. ROSL ARTS is devoted to the career development of talented young professional artists and musicians from the UK and the Commonwealth, and also presents readings and literary events at its central London headquarters.

The principal ways in which ROSL ARTS supports artists and musicians is through the ROSL Annual Music Competition, ROSL Commonwealth Music Scholarships, and ROSL Commonwealth Visual Arts Scholarships. ROSL ARTS also provides performance and exhibition opportunities for its prizewinning artists and musicians early in their careers, and thus brings their work to the attention of the professional arts community, the media, and the general public.

ROSL ARTS is supported by the membership and clubhouse operations of the Royal Over-Seas League and the ROSL Golden Jubilee Trust Fund (registered charity no 306095), as well as donations and sponsorship from many sources: businesses such as Harrods Bank and Coutts & Co; charitable trusts including the John Ellerman Foundation, the Rayne Foundation, the Underwood Trust, the Weinstock Fund; numerous private benefactors; the Friends of ROSL ARTS.

ROSL ARTS has collaborated and received support from the national arts councils of several Commonwealth countries, the British Council, Visiting Arts and UK regional arts boards. ROSL ARTS has collaborated with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in presenting outstanding young Commonwealth artists and musicians at the biennial Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.

Music competition

ROSL organises an annual competition for musicians aged under 30. There are two ensemble awards and four solo awards, with the solo winners then competing for the Competition Gold Medal and First Prize.[3] The Chairman of Adjudicators for the 2014 awards was Gavin Henderson.[3] The Gold Medal competition was held at the Southbank Centre[4] and it was won by saxophonist Huw Wiggin (Royal College of Music).[5] The ensemble awards were won by Block4 (Royal College of Music) and the Solem Quartet (Royal Northern College of Music).[5][6]

Gold Medal award winners since 2000 include Jonathan Lemalu bass-baritone, Juliette Bausor flute, Lucy Crowe soprano, Martin Cousin piano, Amy Dickson saxophone, Timothy Orpen clarinet, John Myerscough cello, Pei-Sian Ng cello, Laura Lucas flute, Ben Schoeman piano, Jonathan McGovern baritone, Jayson Gillham piano, Morgan Pearse baritone, Huw Wiggin saxophone, Alexander Soares piano, Emily Sun violin, James Buckle bass trombone and Jonathan Radford saxophone.

See also

  • List of London's gentlemen's clubs


  1. "Membership". Royal Over-Seas League. Retrieved 14 January 2013.
  2. Matthews, Gemma. "Frequently Asked Questions". Royal Over-Seas League (ROSL). Retrieved 30 October 2018.
  3. ROSL (2014). "Royal Over—Seas League 62nd Annual Music Competition Prospectus" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 June 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  4. Southbank Centre (6 May 2014). "ROSL 62nd Annual Music Competition". Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  5. ROSL (2014). "Huw Wiggin Press Release" (PDF). Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  6. Chamber Studio (2014). "Solem Quartet". Archived from the original on 5 December 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.

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