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The decades after the Restoration saw a proliferation of clubs and societies in London and the main provincial cities, many of them meeting in taverns or coffee‐houses. Though the most famous club, to which Johnson, Burke, and Gibbon belonged, was literary, the majority were dining clubs, or political or gambling clubs. The Athenaeum (1824), founded by J. W. Croker, was literary; the Carlton (1832) was established to restore the fortunes of the Tory Party after its shattering election defeat; the Reform Club (1836) was a Whig and radical riposte to the Carlton's success. The heyday of the gentlemen's club was late Victorian and Edwardian England, with clubs offering overnight accommodation and libraries as well as good dining facilities. At the other end of the social scale were working men's clubs, where the drink was beer and the entertainment a local comedian, sing‐song, or dominoes.

Subjects: Australasian and Pacific History.


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