This chapter examines the Athenæum during the period from the mid-1950s to the mid-1980s. While enjoying affectionate teasing by cartoonists, the club tended to stand upon its dignity in the 1950s. Although some aspects of the 'cultural revolution' that so disturbed Richard Cowell at the time created divisions among the membership, others suited the club in the long term, allowing it not only to survive but also to position itself for the process of reinvention that was to take place in later decades. During the 1960s and 1970s, life at the club carried on much as before, in spite of recurrent financial difficulties. The decorous tradition of 'lunch at the Athenæum' had become proverbial in public discourse, as published novels, memoirs, and diaries recorded conversations there in which bonds of friendship were strengthened, or matters of state and church quietly arranged in private.
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