Crockford's

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This article is about the London club. For the clerical directory, see Crockford's Clerical Directory.
50 St. James's Street, Crockford's first location.

Crockford's was a London gentlemen's club, now dissolved, which was established in 1828 and which closed in 1845. It was one of London's older clubs, was centred on gambling, and maintained a somewhat raffish and raucous reputation. It was founded by William Crockford.

From 1823, the club leased 50 St. James's Street. After the club's closure, this continued to be used as a clubhouse, at first briefly by the short-lived Military, Naval and County Service Club, and then between 1874 and 1976 it was home to the Devonshire Club.

William Crockford was born in 1775, the son of William & Mary Ann Crockford and was baptised at St Clement Dane on 12 February 1776. He began life working in his father's fish shop adjoining Temple Bar (at the original site of that landmark gate - now to be found aside St Paul's Cathedral). His ability at calculation was to stand him in good stead for he quickly took to gambling and after a number of long sessions amassed a tidy sum - enough to launch himself into Regency clubland. He acquired a site in St James's Street and opened a building that was to become the most famous gaming house in Europe - "Crockford's". He fleeced the aristocracy and in the process amassed one of the greatest fortunes imaginable, certainly enough to establish homes at 11 Carlton House Terrace (later to become Prime Minister William Gladstone's home) and at Panton House, Newmarket.

He married Sarah Frances Douglas on 20 May 1812 in St George's Hanover Square; fathered 14 children and died on 24 May 1844. He lies buried in a family vault underneath the Chapel of Kensal Green Cemetery, London.

References[edit]

  • Henry Turner Waddy, The Devonshire Club and Crockford's (E. Nash, 1919) Full text out of copyright and available at archive.org
  • Frank Siltzer, "Newmarket its Sport and Personalities" (Cassell & Co 1923)
  • Rupert Mackeson, Bet like a Man (Eye Ltd 2001)
  • Harold P. Clunn, The face of London (Spring Books)
  • John Raymond, The Reminiscences of Captain Gronow being anecdotes of the camp court, clubs and society 1810-1860 (The Bodley Head, 1964)
  • Ralph Nevill, The Man of Pleasure (Chatto & Windus, 1912)
  • Ralph Nevill, London Clubs - their history & treasures (Chatto & Windus, 1911)
  • Ralph Nevill, Romantic London (Cassell & Co., 1928)
  • Jane Ridley, The Young Disraeli 1804-1846 (Sinclair-Stevenson 1995)
  • "St James's : a satirical poem in six epistles to Mr Crockford" (London 1827)
  • E.J. Burford "Royal St James's - being a story of kings, clubmen and courtesans" (Robert Hale London 1988)
  • E. Beresford Chancellor "Memorials of St James's Street" (Grant Richards Ltd 1922)
  • Henry Blyth "Hell & Hazard - or William Crockford versus the Gentlemen of England"(Weidenfeld and Nicolson 1969)
  • Hunter Davies "The New London Spy" (Anthony Blond)
  • W. Teignmouth Shore "D'Orsay or the Complete Dandy" (John Long Ltd 1911)
  • Arthur Bryant "The Age of Elegance 1812-1822" (Collins 1950)
  • Stella Margetson "Leisure and Pleasure in the Nineteenth Century" (Cassell 1969)
  • Simon Dewes "Temple Bar Tapestry" (Rich & Cowan)
  • A.L.Humphreys "Crockford's or The Goddess of Chance in St James's Street 1828-1844" (Hutchinson 1953)
  • Michael Sadlier "Blessington-D'Orsay - A Masquerade" (Constable & Co Ltd 1933 & 1947)
  • "Bentley's Miscellany" Vol XV 1844
  • "Crockford-House, A Rhapsody in Two Cantos" (John Murray 1827)
  • Charles Evans "The Legend of the Crockford Treasure - a play for children" (Cressrelles Publishing)
  • Connery Chappell "Two Pleasures for Your Choosing - The World of William Crockford" (Falcon Press 1951)
  • T. H. S. Escott "The Romance of the West-End & Other Social Clubs" (T. Fisher Unwin 1914)
  • John o'London "London Stories" (Bracken Books 1985) Reprint of 1882 publication
  • Yves-Michel Ergal "Jeux d'Enfer" (Calmann-Levy 1992) An historical novel about William Crockford written in French

See also[edit]