ABOUT THE CLUB

Known in its various incarnations as The Illustrious Society of Eccentrics, The Everlasting Society of Eccentrics and The Eccentric Society Club, it was once one of the most important institutions of British society. Its name is a long established and reputable social brand, its members were among those who have shaped British culture into what it is today, and its history is inseparable from that of Great Britain itself.

Founded a number of times by seemingly unrelated and socially different groups of people, for centuries it served as a meeting point for many great and original minds, pioneers of thought in artistic, literary, theatrical, scientific, legal and political circles, providing an amicable environment for their recreational and creative pastime as well as a testing ground for the novel and controversial theories and approaches to the issues equally important to British society and all of the mankind.


First records of The Eccentric Club began in 1780s (though there are some earlier references to its conception in 1760s).

Originally, it was an off-shoot of the popular at the time Whig debating club called The Brilliants whose members famously included Richard Brinsley Sheridan, James Fox and William Pitt the Younger.

The original Eccentrics sworn not to hold debates on political and religious subjects but to celebrate “Good Fellowship” and “True Sociality” – “virtues which are getting rare and eccentric”. This political impartiality has saved more than once the club from closure.

In 1799-1803, The Society of Eccentrics was the talk of the town and experienced an unprecedented growth.

The industrial revolution opened wide the gates to technological advancements all over the Empire, and many members of the Club have found their rightful parts to play in it. Others became prominent figures in Law, Politics, Literature and Arts.

By 1880s the club lost many of its original members and its premises, but on 21st November 1890 it was brought back to life by Jack Harrison, a theatrical costumier from Covent Garden, strongly tying the club's name to the theatrical stage.

Club's new home was at the old Pelican Club in Denman Street, but by 1914 it moved to 9-11 Ryder Street, St James's, where it remained until its closure in 1984 for the renovation during which the club has lost many more of its older members (dying of old age or resigning) and the very lease of its premises.

Club membership has changed a lot throughout its existence: in 1780s it consisted primarily of the politicians, lawyers and journalists, in 1890s – artists and actors, in 1980s – businessmen, actors, sportsmen and members of the aristocracy.

The club housed for a number of years The Grand Order of Water Rats, the elite professional organisation of the British actors and entertainers, and the Lighthouse Club, the construction industry charitable organisation.

In 2008 a mix of its original members and the new recruits from other London clubs brought it back to life yet again – though even now the club still has no permanent clubhouse and uses the premises of other London clubs.

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, who was Life Honorary Member of the club in 1980s, has granted formally his patronage to the club.

Presently, the club membership consists of some remarkable gentlemen and ladies, all of whom were carefully selected and include many prominent figures notable for their achievements in various fields of Art, Law, Politics, Science and Business.

We have in our midst the actors, restaurateurs, property developers whose projects are changing London skyline, antiquarians, fashion and furniture designers, writers, artists, performers, professional sportsmen, barristers, judges, inventors and the members of the aristocracy.