East India Club

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The East India, Devonshire, Sports and Public Schools' Club, usually known as the East India Club, is a gentlemen's club founded in 1849 and situated at 16 St. James's Square in London. Membership of the club is strictly by nomination and election only.


Founded in the middle of the 19th century, the club's original members, as set out in the Rule Book of 1851, were- Template:Cquote

But within the first two decades of the club's foundation, the East India Company started to lose its Indian possessions and was wound up entirely in 1874. As a result, the club could no longer look to the East India Company as its main source of members.

Since then, the club has amalgamated with the Sports Club (1938), the Public Schools Club (1972) and the Devonshire (1976), all of which ran into the twin problems of keeping up membership numbers and making ends meet, especially with the escalating costs of maintenance for historic buildings. With the disappearance of the East India Company, the public school influence has become an important one.

File:East India United Service Club.jpg
East India Service Club servant's uniform button, c.1850

The club's facilities include a dining room and a luncheon room in addition to the American Bar (named in gratitude to the American officers who stayed at the club during the Second World War and provided funds to refurbish the bar after the war), the Canadian Room (named in gratitude to the Canadian officers who stayed at the club during the Second World War and afterwards provided the timber for the room when it was still in short supply), the Drawing Room, the Smoking Room (although smoking within the club is no longer permitted), the library (that includes antiquarian and contemporary books), the Card Room, the Rugby Room (where the International Rugby Board met until its move to Dublin), the New York Room, the Clive Room and a gymnasium, a billiard room and 67 bedrooms (including the St. James's Suite). The East India Club is a popular venue for private events and offers conference facilities.

The East India Club has reciprocity with over 100 clubs throughout the world. Members can use the facilities of overseas reciprocial clubs with a card or letter of introduction issued by the East India Club.

The club has numerous younger members through its 'J7 membership' category, inherited through the old Public Schools Club. This provides seven years of membership for alumni of public schools from the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference. Members applying under this scheme must join within 18 months of leaving the school, and must have their application form signed by their former headmaster.

Club house

The East India Club club house is situated on the west side of St. James's Square, London SW1.

The first occupant of the house was Thomas Jermyn, 2nd Baron Jermyn (?1670-1676).<ref name=forrest11>Forrest, op. cit. p. 11</ref> He passed the house on to Robert Villiers, 3rd Viscount Purbeck, who occupied the house for two years (1676–1678).<ref name=forrest11/> After Viscount Purbeck, a Swedish Ambassador occupied the house, followed by two successive Earls of Suffolk and the Earl of Romney.<ref name=forrest11/> The house was then taken over by Sir John Germain, 1st Baronet, the lover and, later, husband of Mary Howard, Duchess of Norfolk.<ref name=forrest11/> When Sir John died in 1719, he left the house to his second wife, Lady Elizabeth Berkeley, 2nd daughter of the 2nd Earl of Berkeley.<ref name=forrest11/> She was to occupy the house for no less than 50 years. When Lady Elizabeth died, the house went to George Germain, 1st Viscount Sackville.<ref name=forrest12>Forrest, op. cit. p. 12</ref> It then became the home of Admiral Vere Beauclerk, 1st Baron Vere<ref name=forrest12/> and then of his son, Aubrey Beauclerk, 5th Duke of St Albans.<ref name=forrest12/>

In 1785, George Anson bought No. 16.<ref name=forrest12/> When he died in 1789, the house was passed on to his son, Thomas Anson, 1st Viscount Anson.<ref name=forrest12/> In 1804, Viscount Anson sold the house to Edmund Boehm, a successful merchant.<ref name=forrest13>Forrest, op. cit. p. 13</ref> Mr and Mrs Boehm were very active socially and hosted many dinner parties. On June 21, 1815, the Prince Regent (later George IV) was the principal guest at the dinner party. He heard the news of the victory at Waterloo at the house, where Major Henry Percy, aide-de-camp to the Duke of Wellington, presented the Prince Regent with four captured French eagles and Wellington’s victory despatch.

When Edmund Boehm was declared bankrupt, Robert Vyner became the owner of No. 16.<ref name=forrest15>Forrest, op. cit. p. 15</ref> In 1825, Mr Vyner sold the house to the Marquess of Clanricarde.<ref name=forrest15/> During Lord Clanricarde's tenancy, he let the house for a time to the Marquess Wellesley.<ref name=forrest12/> In 1849, the East India Club Committee signed a lease with Lord Clanricarde. The club bought the house from Lord Clanricarde in 1863.

Patrons of the Club

  • Prince Albert, Chief Patron, husband and consort of Queen Victoria<ref name=forrest60>Forrest, op. cit. p. 60</ref>
  • James Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie, Patron<ref name=forrest60/>
  • Edward Law, 1st Earl of Ellenborough, Patron<ref name=forrest60/>
  • General Sir Charles Napier, Patron<ref name=forrest60/>

Notable members

This is a small selection of the notable people affiliated with the club or its constituent clubs:

  • William Adam MP (1823–1881)<ref name=forrest70>Forrest, op. cit. p. 70</ref>
  • Archibald Acheson, 4th Earl of Gosford (1841–1922)<ref name=forrest85/>
  • Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850–1942)<ref name=forrest57>Forrest, op. cit. p. 57</ref>
  • John Dugdale Astley, 3rd Baronet (1828–1894)
  • Robert Black (1906–1999)
  • James Blyth, 1st Baron Blyth (1841–1925)
  • Frederick ("Freddie") Richard Brown MBE (1910–1991)<ref name=forrest143>Forrest, op. cit. p. 143</ref>
  • Richard Boyle, 9th Earl of Cork (1829–1904)<ref name=forrest70/>
  • Reginald Alexander Dallas Brooks (1896–1966)
  • Roden Cutler VC AK KCMG KCVO CBE (1916–2002)
  • Augustus Charles Newman VC, OBE, TD, DL (1904–1972)
  • Godfrey Bloom MEP (born 1949).<ref name=ID>Dale, Iain, Independent on Sunday Diary Column , online at blogspot.com (accessed 23 August 2008)</ref>
  • James Butler, 3rd Marquess of Ormonde(1844–1919)<ref name=forrest85>Forrest, op. cit. p. 85</ref>
  • David Campbell-Bannerman MEP (born 1960).<ref name=ID/>
  • Randolph Churchill (1849–1895)
  • Spencer Cavendish, 8th Duke of Devonshire (1833–1908)
  • Edward Cavendish, 10th Duke of Devonshire KG (1895–1950)
  • Joseph Chamberlain MP (1836–1914)<ref name=forrest74>Forrest, op. cit. p. 74</ref>
  • Austen Chamberlain KG (1863–1937)<ref name=forrest80>Forrest, op. cit. p. 80</ref>
  • Sebastian Coe, Baron Coe of Ranmore (born 1956)
  • Michael Colin Cowdrey, Baron Cowdrey of Tonbridge (1932–2000)<ref name=forrest143/>
  • William Edwardes, 4th Baron Kensington (1835–1896)<ref name=forrest70/>
  • Nigel Farage MEP (born 1964)
  • Henry Bartle Frere, 1st Baronet (1815–1884)<ref name=forrest58/>
  • Prince George, Duke of Cambridge (1819–1904)<ref name=forrest57/>
  • Douglas Graham, 5th Duke of Montrose KT (1852–1925)<ref name=forrest85/>
  • Robert Halfon MP
  • Martin Hawke, 7th Baron Hawke (1860–1938)<ref name=forrest85/>
  • Bret Harte (1836–1902)<ref name=forrest79>Forrest, op. cit. p. 79</ref>
  • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. (1841–1935)<ref name="forrest80"/>
  • Leonard Hutton (1916–1990)<ref name=forrest143/>
  • Henry James, 1st Baron James of Hereford (1828–1911)<ref name=forrest70/>
  • Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy, 2nd Baronet (1811–1877)<ref name=forrest57/>
  • Anthony Little (born 1954)
  • Hugh Lowther, 5th Earl of Lonsdale KG (1857–1944)<ref name=forrest85/>
  • Peter May CBE (1929–1994)<ref name=forrest143/>
  • Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (1900–1979)
  • Robert Napier, 1st Baron Napier of Magdala (1810–1890))<ref name=forrest58>Forrest, op. cit. p. 58</ref>
  • Tasker Watkins VC GBE QC (1918–2007)
  • Whitelaw Reid (1837–1912)<ref name=forrest79/>
  • Frederick Roberts, 1st Earl Roberts VC (1832–1914)<ref name=forrest57/>
  • Oliver Russell, 2nd Baron Ampthill (1869–1935)<ref name=forrest85/>
  • Duleep Singh GCSI (1838–1893)<ref name=forrest57/>
  • Henry Somerset, 10th Duke of Beaufort (1900–1984)
  • Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood, 1st Marquess of Dufferin and Ava (1826–1902)<ref name=forrest57/>
  • Denis Thatcher, 1st Baronet MBE, TD (1915–2003)
  • Andrew Vicari (born 1938)
  • Tony Lewis CBE (born 1938)
  • Michael "Micky" Steele-Bodger CBE (born 1925)
  • John Stevens, Baron Stevens of Kirkwhelpington KStJ QPM DL FRSA (born 1942)
  • Geoffrey Dear, Baron Dear, QPM, DL (born 1937)
  • Peter Yarranton (1924–2003)
  • Pelham Francis Warner (1873–1963)<ref name=forrest143/>

In fiction

J. K. Stanford, creator of George Hysteron-Proteron, wrote in 1964 that "George... owed his origin to a face in the East India Club... On one occasion at breakfast he sent for the waiter and said, in my hearing, 'Didn't I order mutton cutlets with blood? There's no blood in these! Take them away!' "


  • George IV (as Prince Regent) was presented with the Waterloo Victory Despatch in the present day Library. He then announced the news from the balcony of the present day Ladies' Drawing Room.
  • Queen Caroline rented and stayed at No. 17, St. James's Square (part of the club's present site) during her "Pains and Penalties" trial.


  • Forrest, Denys Mostyn, Foursome in St. James's (Brighton, Dolphin, 1982, 207 pp)

See also

  • List of London's gentlemen's clubs
  • Honourable East India Company



External links

Template:Military gentlemen's clubs of London Template:Old school and university gentlemen's clubs of London Template:Gentlemen's clubs of London associated with particular countries