Memberships were gained by nomination and ballot with birth and
                                    family connections the most important prerequisites for admission.  The
                                    exlusive clubs were located on St. James's Street where no lady was to be
                                    seen walking or driving down without being thought "fast" or causing a
                                    scandal.  The clubs offered gentlemen a sanctum from home life.  Business
                                    meetings were often carried out there.  Mostly members entertained
                                    themselves gambling and placing bets of any kind.  Card games included
                                    faro, Macao, whist and hazard were often played for high stakes, and dice
                                    games were the favoirte form of gambling.


Gentlemen's Clubs


                                                          Established in 1693 at 4 Chesterfield Street in Mayfair by 
                                                 an Italian immigrant Francesco Bianco.   It began as a hot
                                                 chocolate emporium and was called Mrs. White’s Chocolate
                                                 House.  It didn’t make the transition into an exclusive club
                                                 until the early 18th century and became a notorious gambling
                                                 house.  In fact those who frequented the club were called “the
                                                 gamesters of White’s.”  Jonathan Swift referred to White’s as
                                                 the “bane of half the English nobility.”   

                                                          In 1778 White’s moved to 37-38 St. James’s Street and in

                                                 1783 it was known as the unofficial headquarters of the Tory party, while Brooks’s was the Whigs’ club.  The establishment consisted of three stories, a basement and a dormered attic.  In 1778 the front door was moved to the side to allow the addition of the bow window.

           Members were elected by ballot which consisted of dropping

either a white ball for approval or a black ball to indicated exclusion. 
It took only one single black ball to deny a man admission to the club.

          The betting book recorded most members’ bets, with entries
ranging from sporting events and political development, especially
during the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars.   Social bets
included whether a friend would marry or whom.   Tens of thousands
of pounds changed hands over frivolous bets or the turn of a card.  
For instance, Charles James Fox lost £140,000 by age of 25.   One of the
more outrageous bets involved Lord Alvanley who bet a friend £3000 as to which of two
raindrops on the bow window would reach the bottom of the pane first.  Such bets could lead to financial disaster. 

                       Horace Walpole reported that “Lord Stavordale, no yet one-and-twenty, lost 

               eleven thousand last Tuesday, but recovered it by one great hand at hazard: he
               swore a great oath – `now, if I had been playing deep, I might have won

                        The bow window was built in 1811 by moving the front door to the second
               end window on the ground floor.  Inside, a table was place before it with seating
               reserved for the most socially influential men in the club.  This was first given to
               George Brummell as he was the “arbiter elegantiarum” and his cronies, like Lord


Kloester, Jennifer. Georgette Heyer's Regency World. Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2010, p. 118-125.
Porter, Roy.  English Society in the 18th Century. London: Penguin Books, Ltd., 1990, p. 238.
Woodley, A.  "London Culbs." the Regency Collection. Jan. 2010.  12 Dec. 2016 .


George Bryan"Beau" Brummell