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The death knell of the Gentleman’s club?

Does the decision of Simon Case (Cabinet Secretary) and Sir Richard Moore (Head of SIS) to resign from the Garrick Club herald the end of the Gentleman’s club? The title ‘Gentleman’s Club’ itself is anachronistic but I think that talk of their ending is premature.

They still have a lot going for them: location, exclusivity, accommodation, history and beautiful interiors and exteriors.

White’s, the most exclusive and grandest of them all, has a long waiting list.

They do not even admit women as guests let alone members.

My club – the Reform – has admitted women since 1982.

The biggest challenge is not, in my opinion, the admission of women but extending appeal and use to a younger generation uneasy with dress codes and stuffy regulations.

They prefer a gym or a more relaxed milieu like Soho House.

I’m staying at the Reform right now and in the Hansard Bar and Dining Room I hear a lot of boastful finance talk.

St James is also the quarter for Hedge Funds and I imagine they like the cachet of the Gentleman’s club.

One of the ironies of these clubs is that the member does not always reflect the ethos.

The spy Guy Burgess was very proud of his Reform membership whilst, next door at the Travellers, Nazi Foreign Secretary Joachim von Ribbentrop was a member and – after the Nuremberg trials – hung.

One imagines hotel groups looked covetously at club buildings in prime locations as hotel sites, the sale of which would benefit members, but I know of none so sold.

Indeed I hear that clubs are doing well and certainly last night the dining room of the Reform was full.

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About Robert Tickler

A man of financial substance, Robert has a wide range of interests and opinions to match. More Posts