As Pall Mall and the immediate neighbourhood of St. James’s have been for a century the headquarters of those London clubs which have succeeded to the fashionable coffee-houses, and are frequented by the upper ranks of society, a few remarks on Club-land and Club-life will not be out of place here.As Walker observes in his “Original,” the system of clubs is one of the greatest and most important changes in the society of the present age from that of our grandfathers, when coffee-houses were in fashion. “The facilities of life have been wonderfully increased by them, whilst the expense has been greatly diminished. For a few pounds a year, advantages are to be enjoyed which no fortunes, except the most ample, can procure. … For six guineas a year, every member has the command of an excellent library, with maps; of the daily papers, London and foreign, the principal periodicals, and every material for writing, with attendance for whatever is wanted. The building is a sort of palace, and is kept with the same exactness and comfort as a private dwelling. Every member is a master without the troubles of a master. He can come when he pleases, and stay away as long as he pleases, without anything going wrong. He has the command of regular servants, without having to pay or to manage them. He can have whatever meal or refreshment he wants at all hours, and served up with the cleanliness and comfort of his own home. He orders just what he pleases, having no interest to think of but his own. In short, it is impossible to suppose a greater degree of liberty in living.”
From: ‘Pall Mall; Clubland’, Old and New London: Volume 4 (1878), pp. 140-64. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=45188. Date accessed: 07 January 2007.
- This link Will lead you to views of London today. Explore the sights in panoramic views.
- Also read: Male Bastions: The Clubs of St. James