Tag Archives: Regency Britain

Four-in-Hand Club

The Four-in Hand (also called Four Horse) was a club founded in 1808 for the dedicated break-neck drivers of the famed barouches of the British Regency. Though originally a wild club of young men racing downBritain’s poor roads, it became a small group of Corinthians with between 30-40 members. On first and third Thursdays in May and June, members  assembled in Cavendish Squareand trotted in single file to Salt Hill and dined at the Windmill, stopping often to wine and dine on the 24 mile overnight trip.

The club established rules for the barouche design and accoutrements. The yellow barouches were required to be pulled by bays with silver harnesses and rosettes at their heads.  (Photo is actually a phaeton.) The drivers wore drab coats reaching to the ankles with three tiers of pockets and large mother of pearl buttons. Their waistcoats sported 1” wide blue and yellow stripes. The breeches were of plush with strings and rosettes at each knee. The cravat tie the club used has come down to the present as the traditional tie used today. After two revivals the club died out in 1824.

BTW, check out my blog today on “You Can Tell a Book By It’s Cover” at the Writers Vineyard http://thewritersvineyard.com/        Tomorrow, Manton’s    Rita Bay

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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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