History of the Carlton Club
Founded in 1832 in the aftermath of the victory of the reforming party, The Carlton Club was designed as a party political organisation, just as other clubs after the Napoleonic War were founded to satisfy particular interests.
Its genesis was in meetings of a small number of Tory Members of Parliament at an address in Charles II Street, off St James’s Square, following the massive reform majority in the 1831 General Election. By 1832, it was obvious that the premises were too small for the purpose of effective party organisation, added to which was the inconvenience of there being insufficient funds.
By 1835 its wealth and standing were such that it was able to occupy new premises on Pall Mall designed for the Club by Sir Robert Smirke. Membership was both a token of adherence to the Conservative party and – to the outside world – a badge of allegiance.
Today the Club continues to support the Party in many ways but the hub of the Party is now based in Millbank. The Carlton Club remains, however, the Conservative Club.
69 St James’s Street only became the Clubhouse after the Pall Mall building was destroyed in an air-raid during the Second World War. Many of the Club’s most valuable possessions, including portraits of Conservative Prime Ministers and Cabinets since the 18th century, survived the destruction of the old Clubhouse and can still be seen today.
We are grateful to Fellow Gastronome Jonathan Orr-Ewing for very generously hosting this event.