Unlikely London Clubs

London is the most clubbable of cities, but the true heyday of societies and associations was the late-19th century. Then, alongside the clubs and societies that have continued through to the present, there were many others whose loss I mourn. They included the Surly Club, where men met to practice contradiction and foul language, as well as a Lying Club and a Mock Heroes Club, a No-Nose Club and a Farting Club. There was the sinister Man-Killing Club, which required members to have done what it titled itself, and the melancholic Club of Broken Shopkeepers, for bankrupts and failed businessmen. And, my favourite of all, the Humdrum Club, for men who ‘meet at a tavern, smoke their pipes & say nothing till midnight’.


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