Gentlemen's club

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The Reform Club, set up in the early 19th century in London

A gentlemen's club is a private social club. These clubs were started in England in the 18th century. They were originally reserved to the British upper class. At the start, they were only for men, women were not allowed. They were all originally gambling clubs. The first clubs (such as White's, Brooks's and Boodle's) had members from the aristocracys. A main activity was gambling, especially gambling at cards. which was illegal outside of members-only establishments. However, there were clubs with other activities.

Countries outside Britain also have such clubs. In many cases, they were associated with the British Empire: There are important ones in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. They can also be found in many of the bigger American cities.

Gentlemen's clubs were made so that their members could spend time there, instead of being at home. Such a club typically contains a formal dining room, a bar, a library, a billiards room and one or more rooms for reading, gaming or socializing. Many clubs also have guest rooms and fitness amenities. Some are associated mainly with sports and regularly hold other events such as formal dining.

Further reading[change | change source]

  • Anonymous (1893). Club Men of New York: Their Occupations, and Business and Homes Addresses. New York: Republic Press.
  • Anonymous (1950). Your Club. London: Whitbread.
  • Bhageria, Purshottam; Malhotra, Pavan (2005). Elite Clubs of India. New Delhi: Bhageria Foundation. ISBN 81-902898-0-2.
  • Black, Barbara (2012). A Room of His Own: A Literary-Cultural Study of Victorian Clubland. Athens, Ohio: Ohio University Press. ISBN 978-0-8214-2016-4.
  • Clark, Peter (2000). British Clubs and Societies, 1580-1800: The Origins of an Associational World. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-924843-5.
  • Cohen, Benjamin B. (2015). In the Club: Associational Life in Colonial South Asia. Manchester: Manchester University Press. ISBN 978-0-7190-9605-1.
  • Darwin, Bernard (1943). British Clubs. London: Collins.
  • Escott, T. H. S. (1914). Club Makers and Club Members. London: T. Fisher Unwin.
  • Girtin, Tom (1964). The Abominable Clubman. London: Hutchinson.
  • Graves, Charles (1963). Leather Armchairs: The Chivas Regal Book of London Clubs. London: Cassell.
  • Kendall, Diana (2008). Members Only: Elite Clubs and the Process of Exclusion. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0742545564.
  • Lejeune, Anthony (1979). The Gentlemen's Clubs of London. London: WH Smith Pub. ISBN 0-8317-3800-6.
  • Lejeune, Anthony (2012). The Gentlemen's Clubs of London. London: Stacey International. ISBN 978-1-906768-20-1.
  • Marsh, Charles; Mackenzie, Colin (1828). The Clubs of London. London: H. Colburn, 2 vols.
  • Milne-Smith, Amy (2011). London Clubland: A Cultural History of Gender and Class in Late-Victorian Britain. London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-230-12076-1.
  • Nevill, Ralph (1911). London Clubs: Their History & Treasures. London: Chatto & Windus.
  • Thévoz, Seth Alexander (2018). Club Government: How the Early Victorian World was Ruled from London Clubs. London: I.B. Tauris/Bloomsbury. ISBN 978-1-78453-818-7.
  • Thévoz, Seth Alexander (2022). Behind Closed Doors: The Secret Life of London Private Members' Clubs. London: Robinson/Little, Brown. ISBN 978-1-47214-646-5.
  • Timbs, John (1866). Clubs and Club Life in London. London: Chatto & Windus.