Welcome to the Eccentric Club (UK), formerly known in its various incarnations as The Illustrious Society of Eccentrics, The Everlasting Society of Eccentrics, The Eccentric Society Club and, finally, The Eccentric Club.
For more than two centuries the Eccentric Club was one of the most important institutions of British society. Its name is a long established and reputable brand, its members were amongst those who helped to shape 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 novel and controversial theories and approaches to the issues equally important to British society and all of the mankind.
The present club has been revived by a group of enthusiasts, members of the old club and a few other London clubs, in 2007 (the old club has closed in 1984), and was officially re-launched on the 29th of August 2008.
The organisers were congratulated on their endeavours by HRH Prince Charles of Wales, Their Royal Highnesses Princes William and Harry of Wales, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Lord Montagu, Lord Bath, Count Nikolai Tolstoy-Miloslavsky, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, actor David Prowse, performer Elton John, writer Peter Underwood, writer Nicholas John Storey of The Retrocentric Club.
Following the re-launch, the Club Secretary had private meetings with HRH Prince Michael of Kent at Kensington Palace who expressed his interest and support for the new club, and with Lord Montagu of Beaulieu (the last President of The Eccentric Club in Ryder Street) who has entrusted to the new club's Committee his archive of documents related to the old club, thus symbolically establishing the link between the two organisations.
HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and HRH Prince Charles for many years were the Club’s Life Honorary Members. On the 25th of November 2008 HRH The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has decided to grant his Patronage to the Club.
In May 2009 the Eccentric Club has managed to secure itself an informal agreement with the Arts Club of 40 Dover Street, Mayfair, allowing the Eccentric Club members to use the Arts Club premises (with some minor limitations), thus ending the Eccentric Club's temporary homelessness.
In less than a year from its re-launch, the Eccentric Club’s membership exceeded 100 individuals in the UK and 11 other countries worldwide.
...To bring the Eccentric Club back to life in the 21st century was an amazing and exciting challenge. Just like the original founders many years ago, we had to start from the very beginning – finding patrons, acquiring the right members, raising the funds, organising the events, seeking the clubhouse to meet in. But the mere idea of a possibility of succeeding at such an eccentric task and saving with the Club a huge chunk of British and, indeed, international cultural history carelessly abandoned and ignored for many years, was making it really worth all our efforts.
The newly restored Eccentric Club aims to honour the famous charitable traditions of its predecessors. We believe that today, in the times of common globalisation, it is essentially important to support our local, national and European charities which far too often remain undervalued and underfunded whilst the larger international organisations' needs seem to be taking a priority.
Finally, we believe that it is essentially important to highlight and celebrate the eccentricity itself, as it was understood by our predecessors – an innate ability to ignore the well-trotted routes of the others and invent own original ways, find surprisingly fresh approaches to the long decided issues, proudly demonstrating to the rest of the world the great mosaic of possible solutions and points of view. And, as we know from the history, the world has often followed the eccentrics and acknowledged their genius...
FAMOUS MEMBERS OF THE CLUB: Charles James Fox, William Lamb (Lord Melbourne), Richard Brinsley Sheridan, Charles Stanhope (The Earl of Harrington), Henry Peter Brougham (Baron Brougham and Vaux), Theodore Hook, James Sheridan Knowles, Lord Denman, Lord Campbell, William M. Thackeray, Jack A. Harrison, Sir Charles Wyndham, Viscount Burnham, The Earl of Lonsdale, The Earl of Birkenhead, Lord Montagu, Lord Bristol, The Duke of Westminster, Sir Frederick Wells, Sir James Miller, Sir Herbert Tree, Sir George Alexander, Sir Walter de Frece, Sir Seymour Hicks, H. Montague-Bates, G. N. Barnes, George Milne, Walter J. W. Beard, Thomas Honey, Percy Leftwich, W. E. Garstin, A. J. East, Ernest Stuart, Dudley Hardy, Julius M. Price, Lionel Brough, John Hollingshead, M. and Jean de Paleologue, Henry Ainley, George Robey, Dan Leno, Little Tich, Sir Henry J. Wood, Sir Landon Ronald, Sir Gerald du Maurier, Fred Bishop, Bill Gavin, Dick Upex, Bud Flanagan, Tommy Trinder, Ben Warris, Joe Davis, Jack Trevor, James Moore, Louis Scott, George Graves, Talbot O'Farrell and many many others.
In total, 35 Lord Mayors of London were Honorary Life Members of the Club.