Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Clubs - Civil Club

CIVIL CLUB, established in 1669, three years after the Great Fire, exists to this day. One of the fundamental rules was, that but one person of the same trade or profession should be a member, the design being to render mutual assistance in business matters - a very desirable object, especially after the great calamity above referred to. The Club appears to have been a sort of court of appeal also. Thus, if one member in his dealings with another did not feel satisfied with the quality or quantity of the good served to him, he could lay his grievance before the Club, who would decide the matter. Of course, the rules have been somewhat modified, to meet the advanced spirit of the times. The law excluding two of a trade is adhered to, to some extent. The Civil Club met for many years at the Old Ship Tavern, Water-lane, whence it removed to the New Corn Exchange Tavern, Mark-lane. The records show that among former members were Parliament-men, baronet and aldermen; the chaplain is the incumbent of St. Olave-by-the-Tower, Hart-street. Two high carved chairs, bearing date 1669, are used by the Stewards. This is the oldest Club in existence.

John Timbs, Curiosities of London, 1867