An urban view — 01 September 2017

Every month CabbieBlog hopes to show you a little gem of a building that you might have passed without noticing, in the past, they have ranged from a modernist car park; a penguin pool; to a Hanoverian gatehouse.

Easily overlooked in St. James’s Street sitting, as it does, among some of the finest 18th-century buildings to be found in London, Boodles is located just down the street from its more illustrious cousin – White’s Club.

The club was founded in 1762 by the future Prime Minister, Lord Shelburne it has only been at its present location since 1782, and in true English tradition, the club derives its name, not from its founder, but from its original head waiter, apparently the austere Edward Boodle. .

With its distinctive first-floor fan window, the building was originally the ‘Savoir Vivre’ Club, designed in 1775.

Regarded as a Gentleman’s Club previous members have included: Prime Ministers William Pitt the Elder and Younger; champion of abolishing the slave trade William Wilberforce; and dandy Beau Brummell, who is said to have placed his last wager in England there.

The second oldest club in the world, it has more a modern association. It played host to many high-ranking MI6 officers and was an ideal location for convivial events and recruiting. Ian Fleming joined in 1944 and remained a member until his death. M’s club, Blades, is modelled on Boodles.

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