The Eccentric Club’s Daring Comeback
on: August 22, 2008, 4:40 am
Release Author: The
Eccentric Club (UK)
Release Summary: The Eccentric Club, once an important institution
in the British society, closed down in the mid-1980s, is about
to make a daring comeback to the London clubland on 29th of August
- this time not in Mayfair, but in Bloomsbury.
Release Body: “The Eccentric Club in London with its
clock running backwards: I wished they would have me as a member,
so I could meet all my old friends again...” (Anthony
Steyning, the writer)
Eccentric Club, once an important institution in the
British society, which fell victim to a careless gamble with property
developers in the mid-1980s and, subsequently, lost its premises
in Mayfair and was closed down, is to experience a much-anticipated
revival and to make a daring comeback to the London clubland on
29th of August – this time not in Mayfair, but in Bloomsbury,
in the premises of Pushkin House, the Russian cultural centre,
named after Alexander Pushkin, Russia’s most celebrated
and most eccentric 19th century poet. The reason for such a choice
of venue was purely incidental and primarily due to the friendliness
of the Pushkin House staff and their own excitement about the
re-launch of The Eccentric Club by a group of
keen enthusiasts and devoted volunteers, members of a few other
London clubs, who believe that the Eccentric Club is still missed
by many and undeservedly forgotten by the society and the media.
Club’s name is a long established and reputable brand, its
famous members of the past were those who had shaped the British
culture into what it is now, its history is inseparable with that
of Britain itself”, say the organisers.
the 29th of August they intend to re-launch The Eccentric
Club (UK) officially, in a traditional eccentric and
entertaining style, with the music performances, a witty satirical
operatic/jazz cabaret “Kiss & Tell”, speeches
by Henry Hemming, the celebrated author of recently published
“In Search of the English Eccentric” and Lyndon Yorke
(a mechanical follyologist voted 'Britain's Most Eccentric Person'
in 2002), and more entertainment in various shapes. Equally entertaining
promises to be the socialising with the meticulously selected
guests from the artistic, scientific, literary, legal and business
believed to have been founded in 1890 by Jack Harrison, a theatrical
costumier from Shaftesbury Avenue, the new Eccentric Club
may actually become a century older due to the claims of its organisers
to have proofs of the Club’s existence in the 1780s. Such
a change in the Club’s ‘birth certificate’ most
probably will not go unnoticed by the other clubs, but at the
moment this does not seem to worry the organisers who believe
that the Club has experienced many resurrections and has been
founded several times by totally unrelated and socially distinct
groups of people over the last two centuries.
new Club’s website states that it has served "as a
meeting point to 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 the British society and the entire mankind."
Considering what's going on in the world today, many feel that
it is high time The Eccentric Club was reborn and some new debates
on some old issues to be launched.
may of course be wondering what is meant by ‘being eccentric’
these days, after all it has been unfortunately misinterpreted
over the years. The new founders have redefined its meaning to
"British eccentricity is a reluctance to be bound by social,
spiritual, scientific, political, esthetical or any other limitations
and an everlasting desire to explore every manifestation of life
around us for the benefit of gaining personal experience and translating
it through various mediums such as art, business, science, social
events to the others, to the society and, in particular, other
individuals which are seeking new knowledge and experience and
are ready to perceive it...".
previous Eccentric Club, started in 1890 by Jack
Harrison, a theatrical costumier and the father of popular
musical comedy actresses Phyllis Monkman, Dorothy Monkman and
Beryl Harrison, from its humble beginnings in Shaftesbury Avenue
rose to become one of the most influential artistic and business
establishments in Britain as well as one of its most generous
both World Wars, members of the Eccentric entertained the troops
on the frontline, raised in total over £100,000 for wounded
soldiers, visited them in hospitals and distributed food, tobacco,
cigarettes and pipes, built numerous hospitals, hostels and orphanages.
On average, since the 1920s the Club was spending over £1,000
a year on various charitable needs.
new Club organisers pledge to honour the charitable traditions
of its predecessors. They believe that today, in the times of
common globalisation, it is essentially important to support local,
national and European charities which far too often remain undervalued
and underfunded whilst the larger international organisations'
needs seem to be more of a priority.
new Eccentric Club started just over a year ago
with an eccentric idea of its restoration and a website appealing
to any possible supporters of such an initiative. The response
was truly overwhelming and beyond any expectations – emails
were coming in literally daily. Although, a share of correspondence
was from those doing genealogical research for their own families
or some famous former members of the Club, a larger proportion
was from those who were actually looking for The Eccentric Club
to learn more about it, fascinated with its history and the remarkable
input into the British culture. Two London-based TV production
companies were immediately interested in shooting documentaries
about the new Club’s birth.
of The Eccentric Club in the 21st century is
an amazing challenge and everyone involved feel most excited about
the journey ahead of them. The organisers believe they are closer
to the original founders of the Club than those who have inherited
it and lost it. Starting the Club from the very beginning –
finding the patrons, acquiring the right members, raising funds,
organising events, establishing own clubhouse – requires
a lot of energy and aspiration. But a prospect of running one
of the most fascinating clubs in the British history fuels this
the new Club’s organisers see it essentially important to
highlight and celebrate the British kind of eccentricity –
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 British eccentrics and acknowledged their genius...
Eccentric Club restoration was welcomed by many celebrated
and distinguished individuals. Amongst those who wished the best
of luck to the endeavours of the new Club organisers are HRH Prince
Michael of Kent, Mayor of London Boris Johnson, Lord Bath and
Lord Montagu (who was the last Chairman of The Eccentric Club
in the 1980s).
MEMBERS OF THE CLUB: Jack Harrison, Sir Charles Wyndham,
Viscount Burnham, The Earl of Lonsdale, Lord Montagu, Sir Frederick
Wells, Sir James Miller, Sir Herbert Tree, Sir George Alexander,
Sir Walter de Frece, H.Montague-Bates, Lionel Brough, John Hollingshead,
M. De Paleologue, Henry Ainley, George Robey, Dan Leno, Little
Tich, Sir Henry J. Wood, Sir Landon Ronald, Arthur Lloyd, Fred
Bishop, Bill Gavin, Dick Upex, Bud Flanagan, Tommy Trinder, Ben
Warris, Joe Davis, Jack Trevor, James Moore, and many many others.
famous members: Julius M. Price, Dudley Hardy, George
Prince of Wales was the Club’s primary Patron for almost
all of its history. In total, 35 Lord Mayors of London were selected
as Honorary Life Members of the Club.
regret but we have no images available to accompany this Press
Release. Images of the old Eccentric Club are obtainable from
Getty Images (Hulton Archive: http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?contractUrl=2&language=en-US&family=editorial&assetType=image&p=%22eccentric%20club%22&src=standard),
images used on www.eccentricclub.co.uk
are mostly licensed from www.clipart.com.
Details: For more information, please contact: The Secretary of
The Eccentric Club (UK) on 0870-345-0532 or 0786-751-3645
correspondence to be sent to:
The Eccentric Club
27 Old Gloucester Street
London WC1N 3AX
5A Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2TA
T: +44 (0) 20 7269 9770
F: +44 (0) 20 3116 0151
Main Entrance is located on Bloomsbury Way, across the road from
the Swedenborg Society building. The nearest tube stations are
Holborn, Tottenham Court Road and Russell Square. There is a secure
public car park in Bloomsbury Square.