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Gentlemen's club
Founded 1762; 255 years ago (1762)
Founder William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne
Headquarters St James's Street, City of Westminster
London, SW1

Boodle's is a London gentlemen's club, founded in 1762, at 49–51 Pall Mall, London by Lord Shelburne, the future Marquess of Lansdowne and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. The club came to be known after the name of its head waiter, Edward Boodle.

Boodle's is regarded as one of the most prestigious clubs in London,[1] and counts many British aristocrats and notable politicians among its members.[2] It is the second oldest club in the world, with only White's being older. Boodle's Orange Fool is a traditional club dish.[3]

Early members were opponents of William Pitt the Elder’s foreign policies relating to the Seven Years' War, and political allies of Lord Shelburne.[4] The club is generally regarded as being aligned with the Conservative Party, with many of its current and former members holding important positions within the party, although the club is not formally tied to any political party. During the Regency era, Boodle's became known as the club of the English gentry, while White's became the club of the more senior members of the nobility. Four members have been awarded the Victoria Cross and Sir Winston Churchill was one of the few people to be elected to honorary membership. It is reputed that Beau Brummell's last bet took place at the Club before he fled the country to France. Today, membership is strictly by nomination and election only.

In 1782 Boodle's took over the "Savoir Vivre" club house at 28 St. James's Street, London, and has been located there ever since. The building had been designed by John Crunden in 1775. The ground floor was refurbished by John Buonarotti Papworth between 1821 and 1834.

Notable members[edit]

In fiction[edit]

Ian Fleming is said to have based the Blades Club from his James Bond novels on Boodle's. However, Boodle's itself is referenced in the novels Moonraker and You Only Live Twice.

Of J. K. Stanford's George Hysteron-Proteron, said to be a member of Boodle's, a real-life member wrote in 1944: "I see the author mentions Boodle's. I don't know if he is a member here but there are six George Proterons sitting round me in the smoking-room at the moment."[5]

In the TV series The Avengers (episode "The Charmers") Boodle's is referenced, while in the 1998 film version, The Avengers, Boodle's is shown – Uma Thurman's Emma Peel walks in and it is said "No females have been in Boodle's since 1762".

The club is referenced in W. E. B. Griffin and William E. Butterworth IV's novel The Double Agents, part of the Men at War series. Ian Fleming and David Niven are referenced, as well as their membership at Boodle's. While the actual story is fiction, their memberships at Boodle's and the friendship between the two and their participation in intelligence activities during World War II are factual.

The club is referenced as a pleasant retreat from the world's worries in John Whiting's 1951 play "A Penny For A Song", when Breeze, manservant to Hallam Matthews, refers to a handkerchief placed over his master's face as "a curtain between you and the world. Out here, vulgar mankind – behind there, Boodles."

In Oscar Wilde's 1895 play An Ideal Husband, Sir Robert Chiltern says, "Lord Goring is the result of Boodle's Club, Mrs. Cheveley," after Lord Goring establishes that he is a bachelor. Mrs. Cheveley responds, "He reflects every credit on the institution."

In Charles Dickens's 1853 novel Bleak House, ch. XII "On The Watch", a satirical paragraph mentions the Lords Boodle and Coodle, Sir Thomas Doodle, the Duke of Foodle, etc., alluding to the famous club and thereby to the closed set of politicians and other powerful men passing power among themselves.

In Operation Crossbow (1965) Bradley (Jeremy Kemp) suggests Boodle's to Lt. Curtis (George Peppard) as a stopover after their 'spy' interviews.

The club is often referred to in the ITV series Downton Abbey.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Colin Joliat, 'Boodle's, the Gentlemen's Club Gin', 18 October 2013
  2. ^ M. Fletcher, 'The Report: Upper-class hideouts', 13 March 2012
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ City of London: 'Boodle's Club', Exploring the Heritage of Clubland: The Archives of Boodle's "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 January 2014. Retrieved 2014-01-03. 
  5. ^ J. K. Stanford, Authors Note prefacing The Twelfth and After (London, 1964), pp. 7–8

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°30′25″N 0°8′22″W / 51.50694°N 0.13944°W / 51.50694; -0.13944