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History of the Savage Club London

 
 A 19th Century Dead Poet Society

 

What happened in London 1857 when a small group of authors, journalists and artists wanted a place to gather in their hours of leisure? They formed a Club.

Letter

Who were these Founders?

William Brough, Robert Brough, Leicester Silk Buckingham, Don Deffett Francis, Gustav von Franck, Bill Hale, George Augustus Henry Sala, Dr. G.L. Strauss and William Bernhardt Tegetmeier.

The first thing on their Agenda was to find a place to hold their meetings. Their first meeting place was at the Crown Tavern, Vinegar Yard, Drury Lane. They met in various places over the years including the Nell Gwynn Tavern, Gordon's Hotel in Covent Garden in 1863, the Adelphi Terrace, later to Fitzmaurice Place Berkeley Square and from 1936 to the end of 1963 their home was Carlton House Terrace in St. James's.

Tavern1Many of the members were drawn from the ranks of bohemian journalists who felt they would be unlikely to be accepted into the older, arts-related Garrick Club but, within 20 years the Savage Club itself had become 'almost respectable'. The early members were working men in literature or art, but soon included musicians and in 1871 the first piano was hired. Not all members were happy about this!

The club hosted a variety of guests over the years including the Australian Cricket Team during its English tour in 1934.

Notable Members through the years:

Samuel Langhorne Clemens - Mark Twain               Charles Dickens
Sir Charles Spencer Chaplin - Charlie Chaplin Most members of The Crazy Gang
Prince of Wales W.S. Gilbert (Mr. Sullivan not listed)
Jack Hawkins - Actor Earl Mountbatten
H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh Sergei Rachmaninov
Carl Rosa Harry Secombe
Dylan Thomas Herbert Beerbohm Tree
Peter Ustinov James McNeill Whistler

 

In 1882 the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) became an honorary member. He suggested an addition to the facilities of the club - a Masonic Lodge. The Savage Club Lodge was consecrated at Freemasons' Hall on 18 January 1887. Today the London Savage Club is based in the national Liberal Club, Whitehall Place, London SW1.

There are more than 200 members and the club maintains a tradition of members' dinners every two weeks, always followed by entertainment. Several times a year these members invite ladies to share both the dinner and the entertainment. Guests always include widows of former Savage Club Members who are known as Rosemaries (after rosemary a symbol of remembrance).

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