Esoteric London

No. 575: Piccadilly, W1

Posted in Architectural, Clubs by esotericlondon on May 11, 2012

Piccadilly, London, W1. Photo © Roger Dean 2012

Mogg’s New Picture of London and Visitor’s Guide to it Sights – 1844:

The Clubs of London have had a very decided influence on the state of society, and on the interests of hotels and taverns. These once flourishing resorts of men in the upper grades of society have been abandoned for the club-houses, where the advantages of co-operation have been so conspicuously displayed, that the humbler purveyors of comfort have sunk in the unequal contest, and their establishments are now frequented by scarcely any others than temporary sojourners. The effect of this change on the domestic character of these grades is conspicuous; those who have discovered sources of gratification where a moderate expenditure ensures a splendid entertainment, cannot help contrasting the sober hue of domesticity with the cheerful and inspiriting tone of extended communion. To such as possess homes, without the usual endearing associations, club-houses present advantages not to be resisted ; but, to the family man, who has a higher duty than to pander to selfish gratification, they are too often replete with fatal effects.

[In 1862 the three London Services Clubs; the United Service, the Junior United Service and the Army & Navy were full, so to meet the demand of those wanting to join a Services Club the Naval and Military was founded.

Originally located at 18 Clifford Street, W1 the club moved to 22 Hanover Square at the end of 1863 where it remained until the end of 1865, when overcrowding forced a move to Cambridge House on Piccadilly, overlooking Green Park. It opened its doors to the members on St George’s Day, 1878 after substantial improvements had been completed. It was at this venue that the club became known as the In and Out on account of the signs on the building’s entry and exit gates, a feature left over from the coaching days. The club remained in Piccadilly until 1999 when, having failed to agree terms on a new lease, it moved for a fourth time to St James’s Square where its single entrance still bears an ‘In’ on one column and an ‘Out’ on the other.

The Grade I Listed 16th Century Cambridge House built in 1750 has remained empty since the club left and is now sadly falling into a state of disrepair. R.D.]

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