Social workers Sydney and Ella Bellenger founded the Overseas Goodwill Club in Clapham in 1955, after Sydney visited Folkestone and saw 'hundreds of West Indians arriving lost and bewildered'. The club met regularly at St. Anne's Church Hall, Venn Street. In the spring of 1958, Sydney planned to petition the church and local authorities to provide further support for the club, and to relocate its activities to Brixton, where 'the club could have a membership of hundreds'.
Following the 1958 white riots, however, the club saw a dramatic fall in membership, and never made the move to Brixton. From an average of forty attendees at social events, attendance fell following the riots to 'about half a dozen', sometimes less. This drop-off in attendance at inter-racial clubs was reported as a common phenomenon in the wake of the riots.