Sunday, 24 September 2023

Garrick Club could admit women


Garrick could admit women after barrister U-turns on club rules


Michael Beloff KC judged in 2011 that reference to ‘he’ excluded women but has now concluded opposite


Clea Skopeliti

Sat 16 Sep 2023 18.24 BST


One of London’s last remaining gentlemen’s clubs, the Garrick, may be edging towards admitting women after a barrister performed a U-turn on a previous legal judgment ruling that they were ineligible for membership.


Michael Beloff KC first concluded that women could not be proposed under the club’s rules after Joanna Lumley was denied membership in 2011. He ruled then that although the rules do not explicitly preclude women from joining, they state that “no candidate shall be eligible unless he be proposed by one member and seconded by another”.


The use of the masculine article led Beloff to conclude that the rule could be interpreted as referring to men only, while he also said the club’s objectives also refer to “gentlemanly accomplishment and scholarship”.


But the rule could now be scrapped in the club, which was founded in 1831 and counts Benedict Cumberbatch and Sir Kingsley Amis among its members, after the KC wrote a new legal opinion, concluding the opposite.


Beloff prepared a new legal opinion in November last year, the Times reports, stating that there was “now a cogent argument” that the Law of Property Act 1925 means “he” and “she” can be used interchangeably in contracts.


“If so, there is no legal obstacle to the proposal of a woman for membership of the club by one member, seconded by another; nor, if she obtains the support required under the rules, any legal obstacle to her admission as a member of the club,” the newspaper quotes Beloff as writing. He reportedly warned that the club was “likely to provoke an expensive lawsuit” if it continued to exclude women from membership.


Although the opinion was delivered in November, many members only became aware of it recently, as the committee had not shared the news of Beloff’s revised judgment, the Times reports. Club members will share their views on women joining in a survey next month.


Emily Bendell, the chief executive and founder of a successful underwear brand, launched legal action against the club in 2020, arguing that its men-only membership rules are a breach of equality legislation, while Cherie Booth KC joined a campaign to force the club to admit women the following year.


Members including Stephen Fry, Damian Lewis and Hugh Bonneville have said they were in favour of extending membership to women, as has Michael Gove, the former justice secretary Ken Clarke, and broadcasters Sir Trevor McDonald, Melvyn Bragg and Jeremy Paxman. Three former Conservative MPs and 11 KCs were among those who said they would vote to continue to exclude female members.


The club, which was founded in 1831, last voted on whether to include women in 2015, when a majority of 50.5% voted in favour of introducing female membership. However, the introduction of a new rule at the Garrick requires a two-thirds majority.


The Garrick has been contacted for comment.


The Garrick Club was founded at a meeting in the Committee Room at Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, on Wednesday 17 August 1831. Present were James Winston (a former strolling player, manager and important theatre antiquarian), Samuel James Arnold (a playwright and theatre manager), Samuel Beazley (an architect and playwright), General Sir Andrew Barnard (an army officer and hero of the Napoleonic Wars), and Francis Mills (a timber merchant and railway speculator). It was decided to write down a number of names in order to invite them to be original members of the Garrick Club.


The avowed purpose of the club was to "tend to the regeneration of the Drama".[2] It was to be a place where “actors and men of refinement could meet on equal terms” at a time when actors were not generally considered to be respectable members of society.


The club was named in honour of the actor David Garrick, whose acting and management at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane in the previous century, had by the 1830s come to represent a golden age of British drama. Less than six months later the members had been recruited and a Club House found and equipped on King Street in Covent Garden. On 1 February 1832, it was reported that the novelist and journalist Thomas Gaspey was the first member to enter at 11am, and that “Mr Beazley gave the first order, (a mutton chop) at ½ past 12.”


The list of those who took up original membership runs like a Who’s Who of the Green Room for 1832: actors such as John Braham, Charles Kemble, William Macready, Charles Mathews and his son Charles James; the playwrights James Planché, Theodore Hook and Thomas Talfourd; scene-painters including Clarkson Frederick Stanfield and Thomas Grieve. Even the patron, the Duke of Sussex, had an element of the theatrical about him, being a well-known mesmerist. To this can be added numerous Barons, Counts, Dukes, Earls and Lords, soldiers, parliamentarians and judges.


The membership would later include Charles Kean, Henry Irving, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Arthur Sullivan, J. M. Barrie, Arthur Wing Pinero, Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud. From the literary world came writers such as Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, H. G. Wells, A. A. Milne (who on his death in 1956 bequeathed the club a quarter of the royalties from his children’s books),and Kingsley Amis. The visual arts has been represented by painters such as John Everett Millais, Lord Leighton and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.


 The club in 1864

The club’s popularity at the beginning of the 1860s created overcrowding of its original clubhouse. Slum clearance being undertaken just round the corner provided the opportunity to move into a brand-new purpose-built home on what became known as Garrick Street. The move was completed in 1864 and the club remains in this building today.


All new candidates must be proposed by an existing member before election in a secret ballot, the original assurance of the committee being “that it would be better that ten unobjectionable men should be excluded than one terrible bore should be admitted”. This exclusive nature of the club was highlighted when reporter Jeremy Paxman applied to join but was initially blackballed, though he was later admitted, an experience he shares with Henry Irving who despite being the first actor to receive a knighthood had himself been blackballed in 1873.


When the club was founded in 1831 Rule 1 of the Garrick Club Rules and Regulations called for the "formation of a theatrical Library, with works on costume". At a General Meeting on 15 October 1831, the barrister John Adolphus suggested that members should present their duplicate dramatic works to the club, and that these should go some way towards forming a Library. A very valuable collection has thus come together over the years, and its special collections are particularly strong on eighteenth and nineteenth-century theatre.


James Winston, the first Secretary and Librarian of the club, was one of the principal early benefactors and his gifts included minutes from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, as well as his own Theatric Tourist. These presentations formed the nucleus of a Library which now holds well over 10,000 items, including plays, manuscripts, prints (bound into numerous extra-illustrated volumes), and many photographs.

Revisiting The Gentlemen's Clubs of London by Anthony Lejeune From 1980, to re-edition in 2012

  From 1980, to re-edition in 2012

Clubland is another country, redolent of the past but, for its few thousand often influential inhabitants, an integral part of life. It is a place either luxurious or a bit shabby, full of serendipitous historical relics and portraiture accumulated over three centuries, offering splendid wine and food at various levels of delight and disappointment. Covering more than 30 clubs, The Gentlemen s Clubs of London is illustrated with new photography, archival material and engravings of both grand vistas and quaint details. The narrative is a distillation of old records and recollections, published histories and accounts, clubland anecdotes and not least the author s own experience as a veteran clubman of many years standing. For those who have never stepped inside clubland s marble halls, there will be many revelations for clubmen themselves, the chance to exalt the advantages or bemoan the peculiarities of their own institution. With its beautiful new photography and archival material, this is a book to treasure.

 The clubs of London - for nearly three centuries home from home to a remarkable range of characters - have never looked more inviting than in this sumptuously illustrated volume, a long-awaited new edition of a book first published in 1979. The Garrick with its glorious theatrical paintings, Boodle's with fires burning in the grates and impressive red leather chairs, the Reform with its abundance of marble, the Oxford and Cambridge with its white and gold Saloon, the Travellers with the most beautiful columned library in London, and the Beefsteak with an open timbered roof like a medieval great hall: with the loss of so many aristocratic mansions between the two world wars and the devastation of the City's livery halls during the Blitz, these are London's grandest and best- furnished interiors. London clubs owe their origin in large part to a hospitable Scotsman William Macall who created Almack's, for a while the capital's most fashionable assembly rooms. In Pall Mall he appointed Edward Boodle to run one part and William Brooks ran the other. Though it sounds like an 18th-century club, Buck's was conceived in 1918 in war-ravaged France by Captain Herbert Buckmaster and other young Blues officers who decided that if they made it back to England they would start a club. This they did the following June in an 18th-century terrace house still retaining the atmosphere of a home. P. G. Wodehouse was to say in old age that, apart from its lack of a swimming pool, Buck's was the nearest thing to his idea of the Drones Club. White's, the oldest surviving club, started life in 1693 as White's Chocolate House, run by Francesco Bianco. The RAF Club began with a £350,000 gift from Viscount Cowdray which enabled the club to buy the lease of 128 Piccadilly and is now kept alive by the largest membership of any club - 17,000 and almost 8,000 associate members. The Caledonian Club, founded in 1891, came to its present premises in 1946, a splendid Georgian Revival mansion of 1912 built as a very grand private house. The kitchens of the Reform Club designed for the club's famous chef Alexis Soyer were 'spacious as a ballroom and white as a young bride' according to Viscountess Mandeville. The Guards Club owed its foundation in 1810 to the concern of the Prince Regent and the Duke of Wellington who felt that Guards' officers returning from Spain needed an alternative to the gambling hells in St James's and the chop-houses and taprooms where they were wont to get into drunken brawls. The Garrick was founded in 1831 by the writer and art collector Francis Mills as a 'society in which actors and men of education and refinement might meet on equal terms' and moved to its splendid palazzo in 1864. Lejeune tells a nice story of two Guards' officers who sank into comfortable armchairs at the Oxford and Cambridge Club (while their own club was closed). One exclaimed: 'These middle class fellows know how to do themselves well.' Slowly the elderly member opposite lowered his newspaper to reveal the Duke of Wellington, Chancellor of Oxford University. To Lejeune one club is superior to all others - White's. When an anxious member asked Wheeler, the genial long-serving barman, if the bar was still open, he replied, 'Bless my soul, sir, it has been open for 200 years'. --The Times

"Great idea, very poor book"
By Paul C on 3 Jun 2012
"I was hugely looking forward to this book, and became progressively more annoyed when its publication date kept being pushed back by months at a time. The reason soon became clear. This has all the hallmarks of a rush job, with an increasingly grumpy publisher eventually forcing his author to produce enough words whatever the cost to quality or accuracy. The introduction to the text - a great chance to reflect on the revival of clubland since the original edition of the early 1980s - is very disappointing. Its byline - Anthony Lejeune and Friends - smacks of aforementioned bodge job. The pieces on the individual clubs are lacklustre cut-and-paste rehashes of the original edition. Most information included is available for free on Wikipedia. The new photographs are lovely but some pages of plates are filled out with pictures of random items that are only tangentially relevant to the subject in hand. Hugely disappointing and a waste of (rather a lot) of money."

"Disappointingly full of errors"
By C W. Raper on 9 May 2012
"What a shame. The issue of an updated version of Anthony Lejeune's classic book on London Clubs should have been a great opportunity to celebrate the survival of so many of them, and to produce new photographs. The photographs are there, but the rest is a great disappointment. The text is a bowdlerised version of the original, lacking much of its wit. There are some odd omissions (why has the RAC been dropped?). And there are far, far too many unforgivable mistakes. A bust of Hermes in the Library at the Travellers' is described as "the head of a beautiful woman". The late Victorian drawing room of the Oxford and Cambridge Club, originally part of the house of Princess Marie Louise, is described as being by Smirke. The fireplaces in the same room are dated to a decision of the Committee in 1836... One could go on.
The new photos are generally excellent, but really this is a sloppy production that does no favours to Anthony Lejeune's reputation. The original version of the book can still be bought second-hand, and is a much better purchase."

Thursday, 21 September 2023

RALPH LAUREN | Polo Ralph Lauren | Polo Originals / GOODWOOD REVIVAL

Goodwood Revival 2023 | Friday Day 1

The first Revival took place 50 years after the 9th Duke of Richmond and Gordon opened the motor racing track in 1948, driving around the circuit in a Bristol 400, then Britain's state-of-the-art sporting saloon. Most people dress in period clothes. It is one of the world's most popular motor race meetings and the only United Kingdom event which recreates the 1950s and 1960s era of motorsport.


There was some opposition to the re-introduction of racing at the circuit, but a numerically strong lobby in the form of the Goodwood Supporters Association helped eventually to gain approval.


Revival meeting

The revival race meeting is a showcase for wheel-to-wheel racing around a classic circuit, untouched by more modern developments, and relives the glory days of Goodwood Circuit, which ranked alongside Silverstone as Britain's leading racing venue throughout its active years. Between 1948 and 1966 Goodwood hosted contemporary racing of all kinds, including Formula One, the Goodwood Nine Hours race, and the Tourist Trophy sports car race.


The meeting includes Grand Prix cars from the 1950s and 1960s, sports and GT cars, as well as historic saloon cars and little-seen Formula Juniors. Many of these important historic racing cars are driven by famous names from motor sport past and present. Famous drivers who have taken part include Sir Stirling Moss, John Surtees, Kenny Bräck, Sir Jack Brabham, Phil Hill, Derek Bell, David Coulthard, Damon Hill, Gerhard Berger, Martin Brundle, Tom Kristensen, Bobby Rahal, Johnny Herbert, Wayne Gardner, Giacomo Agostini, Jean Alesi, Barry Sheene and Peter Brock, as well as celebrities such as Chris Rea, Debbie McGee and Rowan Atkinson (as Mr. Bean in 2009).

Goodwood Revival 2023 | Saturday Day 2