The Primrose Club was a short-lived political London gentlemen's club founded in 1886 and located at 4-5 Park Place, St. James's. It was aligned to the Conservative party, with members having to pledge support. It was launched as a bid to combine the explosion of the popularity of clubs in London at the end of the nineteenth century with the phenomenal success of the Conservative-aligned Primrose League.
At first it proved highly successful, with Whitaker's Almanack reporting 6,500 members, but within a decade this had already shrunk to 5,500, and by 1910 it had just 350 members, and was disbanded shortly afterwards.
A new virtual Primrose Club with no links to the original London gentlemen's club was formed in January 2009, and the club biography on its website states:
"Our historical inspiration is the political philosophy and career of Benjamin Disraeli, and in taking his lead we are looking to embark on the next steps of the ongoing British Revolution that began at the signing of the Magna Carta.
We represent a political gathering of like-minded individuals who want to repair the damage to the social fabric that has been done by unrestricted and deregulated free enterprise. We believe that the best hope for a national renaissance lies in a serious investment in the education and skills of the disadvantaged people of Britain."
The current club’s primary goal is to be a virtual web based political club and ginger group that will enliven the wider political scene with its view of one nation radicalism.
It is also non exclusive and membership is open to anyone who broadly shares the political agenda outlined by the club on its website; and although the club has a strong affinity for the Conservative party, membership of the Conservative party is not a requirement of membership.
- Antonia Taddei, London clubs in the late nineteenth century (Oxford University discussion paper, 1999), p.20
- This text has been taken with permission from the current club's website at theprimroseclub.com