Quoted in James Payn, Some Private Views (London, 1881), 30–31.
Marjorie Morgan, Manners, Morals and Class in England, 1774–1858 (Houndmills: Macmillan, 1994), 29. Another common way to refer to this same group of people was the “upper 10,000.”
J. V. Beckett identifies the nobility as a governing class defined through the Houses of Parliament and local government officeholders. J. V. Beckett, The Aristocracy in England 1660–1914 (Oxford: Blackwell, 1986), 23, 21. While this definition might be true in the broadest of senses, there were many undoubted members of the highest circles who had no direct connection to politics by the end of the nineteenth century.
John Scott points to a gradual unification of this mixture the landed, manufacturing and commercial classes, though this process was not yet complete until the interwar years. John Scott, The Upper Classes: Property and Privilege in Britain (London: Macmillan, 1982), 78.
W D. Rubinstein points out a similar amalgamation, with the landed classes gradually absorbing the business classes over the nineteenth century. W. D. Rubinstein, Men of Property: The Very Wealthy in Britain since the Industrial Revolution (London: Croom Helur, 1981), 10 ff.
David Cannadine, Aspects of Aristocracy: Grandeur and Decline in Modern Britain London: Penguin Books, 1994), 9–36
Lawrence Stone and Jeanne C. Fawtier Stone, An Open Elite? England, 1540–1880 (Oxford, New York: Clarendon Press, 1986)
J. Mordaunt Crook, The Rise of the Nouveaux Riches: Style and Status in Victorian and Edwardian Architecture (London: John Murray, 1999), 3.
Walter Bagehot famously complained in the 1870s about the dilution of the aristocracy and the subsequent lost of social prestige. This complaint was as old as the aristocracy itself. Walter Bagehot, The English Constitution (London, 1872), 94.
The more distant the association to trade, however, the better. Nancy W. Ellenberger, “The Transformation of London ‘Society’ at the End of Victoria’s Reign: Evidence from the Court Presentation Records,” Albion 22 (Winter 1990): 647. The Arts Club actually considered the issue directly in 1891 when the committee decided that a connection with trade would not disqualify a candidate—though the fact that the issue was raised does speak to some lingering prejudices. Committee Minute Book, June 2, 1891, Arts Club Archive, London.
E. C. Cork, “Society Again!” The Pall Mall Magazine, May 1893, 34–40
Frances Evelyn Brooke, “What Is Society?” The Pall Mall Magazine, June 1893, 232–236
Mary Jeune, “More about Society,” The Pall Mall Magazine, July 1893, 422–428
A Woman of the World, “Society: A Retrospect,” The Pall Mall Magazine, August 1893, 577–583.
David Cannadine sees the aristocracy as losing control over the limits of aristocratic society in the 1880s, forced to bow down to the plutocrats’ demands and lavish lifestyles before crumbling during the interwar years. Through intermarriage, court presentations, monarchical favor, and the dilution of the peerage, he traces how the old guard eventually lost its ultimate control. David Cannadine, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy (New York: Vintage Books, 1999), 345–347. While this may be true, in many ways he overstates the case, as the cultural capital of the old order had significant power and the old the social system remained largely intact through the early twentieth century.
Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, Translated by Richard Nice (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984).
Bill Osgerby points out a similar process in America. Bill Osgerby, Playboys in Paradise: Masculinity, Youth and Leisure-style in Modern America (Oxford: Berg, 2001), 12.
Jeune, “More About Society,” 425. There were always critiques of the aristocracy, however. Typically they focused on the idleness, luxury, and profligacy of the more indiscreet members. See, for example, George Standring, The People’s History of the English Aristocracy (London, 1891).
Ex-Attaché, “London’s Leading Club: Features of English Club Life and the Relative Status of the Clubs of the Metropolis,” New York Daily Tribune, January 19, 1902, 10.
Hilary Evans and Mary Evans, The Party That hasted 100 Days: The Late Victorian Season: A Social Study (London: Macdonald and Jane’s, 1976), 50.
Francis Gledstances Waugh, The Athenaeum Club and its Associations (London, 1894), 47.
Arthur Griffiths, Clubs and Clubmen (London, 1907). 207.
The OED even records the word “clubocracy” entering the English language. While the term takes its etymology from aristocracy, and the definition links it to the class belonging to clubs, it implies something more. “Clubocracy” was closer in meaning to the democracy that existed among clubmen. Oxford English Dictionary.
Helen Josephy and Mary Margaret McBride, London Is a Man’s Town (But Women Go There) (New York, 1930), 310.
Crook, The Rise of the Nouveaux Riches, 7–32, Martin Wiener, English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit 1850–1980 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1981).
Arthur Irwin Dasent, Piccadilly in Three Centuries: With Some Account of Berkeley Square and the Haymarket (London, 1920), 84.
Percy White, The West End, 5th ed. (London, 1900), 7–8, 150.
John Galsworthy, The Man of Property, in The Forsyte Saga, 3 vols. (London: Penguin Books, 2001), 33.
J. F. Wegg-Prosser, Memorials of Brooks’s from the Foundation of the Club 1764 to the Close of the Nineteenth Century (London: Ballantyne, 1906), xii.
Aaron Watson, The Savage Club: A Medley of History, Anecdote and Reminiscence (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1907), 280–281.
Other writers agreed the Savage had a unique position as a respectable club that still held onto its bohemian roots. Griffiths, Clubs and Clubmen, 140.
George W. E. Russell, Collections and Recollections by One who has Kept a Diary (New York and London, 1899), 229–230.
Arthur Ransome, A Bohemian in London (London: Oxford University Press, 1984). 204.
Waiting lists tended to be cited as a source of pride among clubs, signifying the desirability and popularity of the institution. Many of the club histories celebrate their high points of demand. The Army and Navy Club had 3,000 candidates waiting in 1865, the Athenaeum boasted a typical waiting list of 1,600 or sixteen years in the 1890s, while White’s could still claim a nine-year waiting list in the 1990s. C. W. Firebrace, The Army and Navy Club 1837–1933 (London: John Murray, 1934), 72
Lejeune, White’s: The First Three Hundred Years (London: Black, 1993), ix
Waugh, The Athenaeum Club and Its Associations, 32.
Robert Blake, “Victorian Brooks’s,” in Brooks’s: A Social History, ed. Philip Ziegler and Desmond Seward (London: Constable, 1991), 19–20.
In this case, the clout of Merivale’s proposers likely helped his case. He had been proposed by William Thackeray, Anthony Trollope, and John Everett Millias. The man stirring up trouble was an unnamed Irish editor who once felt Merivale snubbed him at an amateur theater in Canterbury. Herman Charles Merivale, Bar, Stage and Platform: Autobiographic Memories, 2nd ed. (London: Chatto & Windus, 1902), 48–50.
Francis W. Pixley, Clubs and Their Management (London: Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons, 1914), 26.
Christopher Hibbert, Edward VII: The Last Victorian King (Houdsmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 174. According to Hibbert’s biography the Prince resigned his membership in the Travellers,’; however, I found no trace of this in the Club’s archives.
Ralph Nevill, The World of Fashion 1837–1922 (London: Methuen, 1923), 29.
Algernon West, One City and Many Men (London: Smith, Elder & Son, 1908), 161–162. It should be noted that neither the Savile nor the Cosmopolitan were considered truly “top-rate” gentlemen’s clubs.
E. Lynn Linton, The New Woman In Haste and at Leisure (New York, 1895), 42.
Charles Dickens, Jr., Dickens’s Dictionary of London 1888: An Unconventional Handbook (Moretonhampstead, Devon: Old House Books, 1993), 242.
Almeric Fitzroy, History of the Travellers’ Club (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1927), 150.
Ex-Attaché, “London’s Leading Club: Features of English Club Life and the Relative Status of the Club of the Metropolis,” New York Daily Tribune, January 19, 1902, 10.
Oscar Wilde, A Woman of No Importance, in The Collected Works of Oscar Wilde: The Plays, The Poems, The Stories and The Essays including De Profundis (Ware, Hertfordshire: Wordsworth Editions, 1997), 417.
Arthur A Beckett, London at the End of the Century: A Book of Gossip (London: Hurst and Blackett, 1900), 84.
George W. E. Russell, A Pocketful of Sixpences (London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1911), 100.
In fact, Alfred Pease emphasizes that Brooks’s was far more political than most observers credited, at least until 1890. However, in an explicitly political memoir this might be overstated. Alfred Pease, Elections and Recollections (London: John Murray, 1932), 251.
The Home Rule Crisis was the result of persistent and growing problems with Ireland. William Gladstone, Liberal prime minister, determined by 1885 that the only answer to the problems in Ireland was a comprehensive and sweeping reform granting them the autonomy they wanted. Introducing a Home Rule Bill, however, deeply fractured his party. Ninety-three members of his own party joined with the Conservatives as “Liberal Unionists” to defeat the bill and bring down the government. The issue was emotionally charged, and was one of the few political issues to have such a deep impact on people’s everyday social gatherings. Paul Adelman, Gladstone, Disraeli & Later Victorian Politics, 3rd ed. (New York: Longman, 1997), 57–58, 60–61.
George Leveson-Gower, Years of Content 1858–1886 (London: John Murray, 1940), 171.
Anthony Lejeune, The Gentlemen’s Clubs of London (London: Macdonald and Jane’s, 1979), 67.
The committee of the Reform was obviously interested in monitoring their election results, since they kept such detailed records. The overall percentage of candidates black-balled in the late nineteenth century was approximately 6 percent, not including those whose names were withdrawn. George Woodbridge, The Reform Club, 1836–1978: A History from the Club’s Records (London: Published by Members of the Reform Club in association with Clearwater, 1978), 83–84.
John Scott, The Upper Classes: Property and Privilege in Britain (London: Macmillan Press, 1982), 99–103.
R. H. Firth, The Junior: A History of the Junior United Service Club from its Formation in 1827 to 1929 (London: Junior United Service Club, 1929), 115.
G. W. Stephen Brodsky, Gentlemen of the Blade (New York: Greenwood Press, 1988), 57–90
Edward M. Spiers, The Army and Society, 1815–1914 (London: Longman, 1980), 164.
H. M., “A Club Type: The Boozer,” Smart Society, January 25, 1893, 19–20.