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Gentlemen's clubs

748 of 1160 nominations


Gentlemen's clubs

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Gentlemen's clubs

When taking a stroll along St James Street or Pall Mall a casual observer could be forgiven for overlooking the existence of the old-style gentlemen’s clubs. Discreetly unannounced with any eye-catching signage, these clubs are most definitely for those “in the know”, members-only havens from the bustle of contemporary life. The clubs evolved as meeting places for the gentry: the oldest, White’s, established in 1693, grew out of White’s Chocolate House. White’s became known as “the bane of the English nobility” owing to the huge gambling debts that were amassed there. Brook’s was another club famous for its betting book, where the oddest bets would be recorded. Membership to both was by election only.

Clubs provided gentlemen with gaming, gossip and good dress (Beau Brummel was fond of standing in the bow window at White’s showing off a new waistcoat every hour), as well as food and copious amounts of drink. Some clubs were founded along principles of shared interests or political affiliations, but for most, especially today’s equivalents such as the trendy Soho House, it’s about having somewhere exclusive to socialise – and in some cases this might even include women!

Photo: George Lewin


Your comments

Uniquely English form of socialising from bygone days.

John Bavister

The era of the Gentlemans Club was one of the greatest of English history. No other country has such a rich history or devoted following in gentlemans clubs. The Club became the heart of the nation, where those in power spent there free time, as well as where they made decisions that effected the entire country. Though not nearly as popular today, many of these clubs still excist. And indeed they seem to be enjoying a resurgence of intrest,most recently with Prince William joining Whites Club.
Adrian Barry



My nomination is the garden shed.