Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Clubs - Garrick Club

GARRICK CLUB, No.35, KING STREET, COVENT GARDEN. Instituted in 1831, and named after David Garrick, to denote the theatrical inclination of its members. A lover of the English Drama and stage may spend two hours very profitably in viewing the large collection of theatrical portraits, the property of a member of the club, and chiefly collected by the late Charles Matthews, the actor.  ... The pictures are on view every Wednesday, and the only mode of seeing them is the personal introduction of a member of the Club.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850

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The GARRICK, 35 King Street, Covent Garden, was established in 1831. Its founders proposed the general patronage of the drama, and the formation of a Club which should combine economical charges with the advantages of literary society; an object which has been successfully attained. The number of members is limited to 350, who are balloted for, and pay an entrance fee of 21l, and an annual subscription of 8l. 8s.
    This Club possesses many celebrated theatrical portraits, chiefly collected by the late Charles Mathews. 
    Admission every Wednesday, from 11 to 3, by member' s order.
    The walls of the smoking-room are covered with paintings by David Roberts, Louis Haghe, and Clarkson Stanfield.

Cruchley's London in 1865 : A Handbook for Strangers, 1865

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Garrick Club Instituted for the general patronage of the drama; for the purpose of combining the use of a club, on economical principles, with the advantages of a literary society; for bringing together the supporters of the drama; and for the formation of a theatrical library, with works on costume. The election of members is vested in the general committee. If a less number than twelve voting members of the committee are present, two black balls will exclude; if twelve or more, three. No candidate to be admitted unless seven of the committee vote. In every case when the minimum amount of black balls is found, the ballot must be taken a second time. Four candidates in each year may be selected by the committee in consideration of their public eminence or distinction. The entrance money is fixed at such amount as the committee may from time to time determine. The annual subscription is 8 8s. The committee have power to admit, pro tem., any distinguished foreigner known to the theatrical, musical, or literary world. Visitors are only admitted to the rooms set apart for their reception, except on Wednesdays, when members can take their friends all over the house to inspect the pictures. 

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