White’s Gentlemen’s Club

WHITE’S was the oldest and most famous and prestigious of the gentlemen’s clubs in Regency London. It started as White’s Chocolate House which was founded by Italian Francesco Bianco (White) in 1698. After the building burned, it relocated to St. James’sSt.across the street from Brooks’s. Whites is famous for its bay window which was built in 1811 and was the seat of Brummell and his friends. Other well-known members included Lord Alvanely, the Duke of Argyll, Lord Worcester, Lord Foley and Lord Sefton.

The membership was conservative, mostly Tory. Admission to White’s was restricted with members being elected. It was not uncommon for the nobility to have memberships to several clubs. Noted courtesan Hariette Wilson wrote that no man was refused entry who ‘ties a good knot in his handkerchief, keeps his hands out of his breeches pockets, and says nothing.’

White’s  provided high-stakes card games, including whist, faro, quinze and hazard. White’s also maintained a betting book to record wagers between members. Large wagers made by the members who were obsessed with gambling might be on very trivial events. Tomorrow, Brooks’s.  Rita Bay

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