Anthony Lejeune & Malcolm Lewis: The Gentlemen’s Clubs of London

Bracken Books, 1987 (1979)

Front Flap:

Lejeune LewisLondon is the mother city of clubs. There are famous clubs in many other cities around the World, but they all owe a debt to those original clubs of St James’s Street and Pall Mall; clubs which were designed to suit the life-style of the English gentleman; clubs which have played a significant role in the social and political history of Britain.

During the ten years in which this book has been in preparation, a sad number of distinguished clubs have died and the English gentleman himself has become an endangered species. Already much of the material is irreplaceable, because it records things which have gone; but the book also – indeed mainly – celebrates an arcane tradition which is very much alive.

Clubland is another country, redolent of the past, but, for its few thousand regular inhabitants, still an important part of their daily lives; a place occupied simultaneously by highly conventional people and wildly eccentric ones; a place both luxurious and shabby, full of marvellous possessions and curious bric-a-brac accumulated over three centuries; offering splendid wine and indifferent food, servants of a kind which hardly exists elsewhere, ducal architecture and primitive equipment.

The Gentlemen’s Clubs of London is a handsome tribute and an affectionate memorial. It deals with nearly 50 clubs. More than 400 specially commissioned photographs observe, with a quizzical eye, grand vistas and quaint details. The narrative is a distillation of old books, records and recollections, a virtual anthology of clubland anecdotes, garnished with engravings, cartoons and literary references, romantic and acerbic, comic and nostalgic.

For those who have never stepped inside clubland’s marble halls, there will be many revelations. For clubmen themselves, this is a volume to treasure.

About the Authors (Back Flap):

Anthony Lejeune, the sone of the distinguished film critic C. A. Lejeune, as born in London; educated at Merchant Taylors’ School and Balliol College, Oxford; served in the Royal Navy and read for the Bar. He edited the magazine Time and Tide, was a Special Writer for the Daily Express and The Sunday Times, and latterly has been a frequent contributor to The Daily Telegraph. For a while he was a publisher. He syndicates a column in America and his broadcasts to South Africa won an Arts Award in 1977. He has written books on politics, and detective stories. He would prefer to sit by a club Fireside, drinking port and talking.

Malcolm Lewis was born in London in 1940 and spent most of his first ten years in the Middle East in Kuwait. He followed a traditional English boarding school education with a very different lifestyle, studying painting at Walthamstow School of Art, followed by film making at The Royal College of Art. Even before graduating, he was commissioned to work for the British Pavilion at the World Fair in Montreal. In 1967 he formed his own company, Media, to design and produce photography, films and audio-visual multiscreen productions. Throughout the ten years since he has worked for governments, museums and multi-national companies around the world. His photography has been used in numerous and varied books and magazines. He now lives in Hampstead, North London.

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