White's


White's

White's is a London gentlemen's club, established at 4 Chesterfield Street in 1693 by Italian immigrant Francesco Bianco (AKA "Francis White"). Originally it was established to sell hot chocolate, a rare and expensive commodity at the time (and the source of its original title of "Mrs. White's Chocolate House"). These "chocolate houses" were seen as hotbeds of dissent by Charles II, but many converted into fashionable and respectable gentlemen's clubs like White's.

As a side-business, tickets were sold there to the productions at King's Theatre and Royal Drury Lane Theatre.

In 1778 it moved to 37-38 St James, on the east side of the street. From 1783 it was the unofficial headquarters of the Tory party, The Whigs' Brooks's club was just down the road. A few apolitical and affable gentlemen managed to belong to both. The new architecture featured a bow window on the ground floor. In the later 18th century, the table directly in front of it became a seat of privilege, the throne of the most socially influential men in the club. This belonged to the "arbiter elegantiarum", Beau Brummell, until he removed to the Continent in 1816, when Lord Alvanley took the place of honour. It was here that Alvanley bet with a friend £3,000 as to which of two raindrops would first reach the bottom of a pane of the bow window.

This was not the most eccentric bet in White's famous betting book. Some of those entries were on sports, but more often on political developments, especially during the chaotic years of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. A good many were social bets, such as whether a friend would marry this year, or whom.

In the later 1970s, the exterior was painted azure with white trim.

One of White's former Chairmen was David Cameron's father, Ian Cameron.

Notable former members

*Beau Brummell (1778-1840)
*William Arden, 2nd Baron Alvanley (1789-1849)
*George Byng, 2nd Earl of Strafford (1806-1886)
*Ernest Brudenell-Bruce, 3rd Marquess of Ailesbury (1811-1896)
*Horatio Walpole, 4th Earl of Orford (1813-1894)
*Thomas Bateson, 1st Baron Deramore (1819-1890)
*Rainald Knightley, 1st Baron Knightley (1819-1895)
*William FitzClarence, 2nd Earl of Munster (1824-1901)
*Valentine Browne, 4th Earl of Kenmare (1825-1905)
*Henry Sturt, 1st Baron Alington (1825-1904)
*Wentworth Beaumont, 1st Baron Allendale (1829-1907)
*Richard Boyle, 9th Earl of Cork (1829-1904)
*Gilbert Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, 1st Earl of Ancaster (1830-1910)
*Allen Bathurst, 6th Earl Bathurst (1832-1892)
*Frederick Hervey, 3rd Marquess of Bristol (1834-1907)
*Richard Grosvenor, 1st Baron Stalbridge (1837-1912)
*Montague Guest (1839-1909)
*Henry Chaplin, 1st Viscount Chaplin (1840-1923)
*The Prince of Wales, later Edward VII (1841-1910)
*Archibald Acheson, 4th Earl of Gosford (1841-1922)
*Robert Wynn Carrington, 1st Marquess of Lincolnshire (1843-1928)
*Thomas de Grey, 6th Baron Walsingham (1843-1919)
*Lord Claud Hamilton (1843-1925)
*John Beresford, 5th Marquess of Waterford (1844-1895)
*Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, 5th Marquess of Lansdowne (1845-1927)
*Edward Digby, 10th Baron Digby (1846-1920)
*Alexander Duff, 1st Duke of Fife (1849-1912)
*Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850-1942)
*John Lonsdale, 1st Baron Armaghdale (1850-1924)
*William Legge, 6th Earl of Dartmouth (1851-1936)
*Walter Long, 1st Viscount Long (1854-1954)
*Thomas Newcomen Archibald Grove (1855-1920)
*William Cavendish-Bentinck, 6th Duke of Portland (1857-1943)
*Charles Cochrane-Baillie, 2nd Baron Lamington (1860-1940)
*Wilfrid Ashley, 1st Baron Mount Temple (1867-1939)
*Victor Cavendish, 9th Duke of Devonshire (1868-1938)
*Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild (1868-1937)
*J. E. B. Seely, 1st Baron Mottistone (1868-1947)
*George Gibbs, 1st Baron Wraxall (1873-1931)
*Ivor Guest, 1st Viscount Wimborne (1873-1939)

Famous recent members

*David Cameron
*Prince Charles
*Conrad Black
*David Niven
*Michael Onslow
*Chips Keswick
*Run Run Shaw
*Evelyn Waugh
*Sir Stewart Menzies (War-time head of SIS) [Cave Brown, Anthony "The Secret Servant", p. 148]

References

*Christopher Hibbert; "London, the Biography of a City"; 1969; William Morrow, NY
*Stella Margetson; "Regency London"; 1971; Prawger Publishers, Inc. NY
*Ellen Moers; "The Dandy: Brummell to Beerbohm"; 1960; The Viking Press, Inc., NY
*Dod's "Parliamentary Companion" (various editions)

External links

* [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=40621#s13 Architectural history, plans and elevations] - from the "Survey of London"


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  • white — [hwīt, wīt] adj. whiter, whitest [ME hwit < OE, akin to Ger weiss, ON hvitr, MDu wit < IE * kweid , to gleam, bright, white > WHEAT, OSlav švěšta, a light, candle] 1. having the color of pure snow or milk; of the color of radiated,… …   English World dictionary

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