Victorian London - Directories - Dickens's Dictionary of London, by Charles Dickens, Jr., 1879 - "St. James's Street"

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St. Jamesís Street.óAlthough of late years the splendour of the clubs of Pall Mall has eclipsed those of St. Jamesís-street, yet the latter can boast an historical interest all their own. The political history of the last century centres in the club-houses of St. Jamesís. Whiteís was founded in 1730, the Cocoa Tree in 1746 Brooksís in 1764, Arthurís a year later, while of the Pall Mall clubs the oldest, the Guards, did not come into existence until fifty years afterwards, namel in 1813. The club life of the last century was a faster, wilder life than club life is now. Men played higher, and drank more deeply and even the leading men of the day drank as deeply and played as high as the rest. The bow-window of Whiteís is historical. From it generations of statesmen have calmly surveyed the passing world; and though coat-collars are not worn high, filled shirts have been abandoned, and the general style of dress is easier and more comfortable nowadays, yet in other respects the quiet elderly gentlemen who still gaze from the windows of the St. ,Jamesís club-house can differ but little from those who looked out a hundred years ago. The house at the corner of Piccadilly, now the Devonshire, was once Crockfordís, where the men of the Regency gambled away fortunes, and whose name occurs over and over again in the histories of that time. There is still a marked difference between the old clubs of St. Jamesís, and what their habitues consider the mushroom clubs of Pall Mall. Men drive up in hansoms, and run up the steps of the Pall Mall clubs; they stroll leisurely at St. Jamesís, stop to chat to a friend on the doorstep, and then go in as if haste or hurry had never been an element in their existence. There are comparatively new clubs in St. Jamesís, but these belong to the new rťgime, and have nothing in common with the quiet and the fogydom of the old clubs.

Charles Dickens (Jr.), Dickens's Dictionary of London, 1879