London is home to the private Gentlemen’s club; some of the most revered institutions on the planet. You have to be a member to gain entry in the modern day, while it was also very much the same during the 18th century when the British upper class first introduced them. Compared to the earlier years, there has been a modernisation in the way in which Gentlemen’s clubs are run.
However, the vast majority are still exclusively made for men. You will find it extremely hard to gain entry to such venues, although there’s certainly plenty for you to learn about these highly fascinating institutions. Here are five private Gentlemen’s clubs in London that are of notable interest and particularly stand out.
The Athenaeum is a stunning aesthetic building designed by Decimus Burton. The building’s exterior is based on the Parthenon in Athens and features numerous emblems and imagery accompanying a truly spectacular columned entrance. Athena, the goddess of wisdom, is watching down on those who enter with the statue of the goddess situated atop the first floor balcony.
The club has an extensive library filled with tomes, as well as a newly renovated smoking room that is entirely smoke-free. Some notable former members of this delightful gentleman’s club include Herbert Spencer, who possessed philosophies that inspired Social Darwinism.
The In & Out, Naval and Military Club
This was first established as the idyllic resting place for serving officers and those of the armed forces. This is one of many Gentleman’s clubs that have modernised and begun admitting women and those not part of the armed forces. There are two entrances to the club, one of which ensures a strict dress code is adhered to and the other providing a less formal entrance.
From either entrance you can gain access to some of the clubs most luxurious facilities, from a gym and swimming pool to the Goat Bar and a fully equipped business centre. There are 52 en-suite bedrooms to make the most of with the club offering unrivalled and extensive accommodation options. In order to gain membership to this Gentleman’s club you must be proposed or seconded by a member.
The East India Club
Commissioned Officers of the Army and Navy as well as those who were members of the East India Company founded the East India Club and merged with sports and public school clubs. Established in the 19th century, young public school boys were given the opportunity to experience the gentlemen’s club for the very first time.
This club is particularly well known for having members of various ages, including retired seniors and young businessmen. The East India Club has not yet modernised to the point where they admit women, although there have been attempts made by current members to modernise. Numerous facilities are available to utilise in this gentleman’s club, such as a gym, a business room and club sports teams’ facilities.
Lord Shelbourne, once Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, founded the Boodles Gentleman’s club in 1762 before he was in office. Boodle’s is certainly one of the most well-known and prestigious Gentleman’s clubs in the UK. It celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2012 and takes its name from the former head waiter, Edward Boodle.
The club is aligned as being in partnership with the Conservative Party and gaining membership to the club is no easy task. The admittance process is determined by a nomination system carried out by current members. The club has its own traditional dish, the Orange Fool, which is often enjoyed by members.
This is probably the most exclusive Gentleman’s club around, with Prime Minister David Cameron once being a member. It was first established in 1693 and is strictly members only. The building itself is arguably the most splendid feature; a grand Portland stone Grade I listed property situated in the heart of St. James’ Street.
You might be wondering why David Cameron is a “former” member of the club. The PM decided enough was enough when the club’s members refused to overrule their men-only policy, resulting in a famous, well-documented snub. However, David Cameron’s father was once the chairman of White’s, meaning he is currently the only member to voluntarily leave.
Many Royals are current members of White’s, including heir to the throne Prince Charles. White’s features a games room, a beautiful drinks bar and plenty of British game on the menu.
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