Camy here! I recently read this oldie-but-goodie from Sheila Walsh and really enjoyed it. It’s not Christian, but it’s clean and a very sweet romance. I tend to really like marriage of convenience romances, so I admit I was a bit biased and ready to like the story because of that plot type. I liked how the heroine was sensible and forthright and willing to take charge of her own life. The hero is also a strong character but not too brooding. And there’s a light mystery thread to keep the story moving at a nice pace.
Here’s the back cover blurb:
The former Miss Minerva Braithwaite thought it a promising proposal when the lord whom she had shamelessly snared into wedlock suggested they go to Paris for their honeymoon. But all too swiftly that promise turned into peril for her hopes of happiness.
First the fearfully handsome, infuriatingly arrogant Lord Dominic Claireux refused to touch her on their wedding journey. Next she discovered that waiting in Paris was the ravishing Lavinia Winterton, who had broken Dominic’s heart once, but who now was eager to make amorous amends.
Somehow the beautiful Minerva had to find a way to melt her husband’s icy reserve and best a hot-blooded rival for his love. And clearly it was going to be a game of enticement and intrigue that only someone as daring as Minerva would gamble on winning…
Today, the sound of a siren and the flashing red or blue lights make drivers clear the road to make way for the emergency vehicles. They trump all normal road rules because of the importance of their job.
In Regency England the road was ruled, not by a siren but by a horn, one carried by the mail coach guard.
This wasn’t the overcrowded stage coach you sometimes hear about. The Royal Mail Coach traveled fast and kept to a very strict schedule, hence the use of the mail coach guard and his horn.
The guards were issued a uniform that looked strikingly similar to the ones used by the military. They were also given guns, a watch, and a very long, tin horn. The watches were all synchronized in London and any variance from the schedule had to be recorded along with the reason for the delay.
Along with providing protection for the coach, the guard would blow the horn. Different tunes meant different things. Some were simply an message to fellow drivers to get out of the way or letting people know they were turning.
But two of the tunes were vital to keeping the mail coach on target.
One let postmasters along the route know they were coming. If the coach wasn’t scheduled to stop and change horses or some other necessity, the mail for the town was dropped at the postmaster’s feet while the postmaster tossed up the bag of outgoing mail for the guard to catch.
Another let tollgate operators know the Royal Mail Coach was coming and to open the gate. The mail coach didn’t pay the tolls and didn’t stop at the gates. If the operator didn’t have the gate open in time, he could face a very hefty fine.
Knowing the importance and the power of the horn, it’s no wonder that many of the mail coach guards had their own made out of materials much finer than mere tin.
Though the uniforms have changed and the mail delivery vehicles now have to follow all the rules of the road, the Royal Mail in England is still a very efficient machine. You can see the Top Gear guys try to race a letter across the country in a Porshe here.
Migrations have happened through the ages. So peoples in even during the Regency had wanderlust, a strong desire to see the world. And dare I say it, they even moved beyond the ballrooms of Almack’s. They traveled, they went on holiday, and upon occasion they conquered.
After the Seven-Year War, George Macartney in 1773, talked of the vastness of England’s reach, “the British Empire on which the sun never sets.”
The common attitude of having at least 184 colonies (accumulated from the 1700’s to 1950’s) around the globe supports the concept, making adaptations of the phase very popular:
“The sun never set on the British Flag” (Rev. R. P. Buddicom, 1827)
“The sun never set on British Empire” (Christopher North 1839)
When I study the list of colonies, I believe they are quite right:
Antigua and Barbuda
Dog Island, Gambia
Archipelago of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina
Colony of Natal
Province of Avalon
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Falkland Islands Dependencies
New England Colonies
Crown Colony of Sarawak
Province of New Hampshire
Sheikhdom of Kuwait
History of Belize
Gambia Colony and Protectorate
Singapore in the Straits Settlements
Province of New Jersey
Georgia (U.S. state)
New South Wales
Province of Georgia
Black River (settlement)
Gilbert and Ellice Islands
Colony of New Zealand
Province of South Carolina
Gold Coast (British colony)
Newfoundland and Labrador
Colony of British Columbia (1858–66)
Colony of British Columbia (1866–71)
British West Indies
British Western Pacific Territories
Hilton Young Commission
Swan River Colony
History of West Africa
Crown Colony of North Borneo
Colony of Tasmania
British rule in Burma
British Hong Kong
Province of Quebec (1763–91)
Province of Canada
Colony of Jamaica
History of Ohio
Cape Breton Island
Kunta Kinteh Island
Operation Sunrise (Nyasaland)
Trinidad and Tobago
Crown Colony of Labuan
Orange River Colony
Province of Carolina
Orange River Sovereignty
Historic regions of the United States
Carriacou and Petite Martinique
Territory of Papua
Van Diemen’s Land
British Leeward Islands
Colony of Vancouver Island
Province of Pennsylvania
Colony of Virginia
Prince Edward Island
History of Pulicat
Weihai (British Colony)
Colony of the Queen Charlotte Islands
British West Africa
West Indies Federation
Cook Islands Federation
Crown Colony of Malta
Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
British Cyprus (1914–1960)
Province of Massachusetts Bay
Colonial history of Southern Rhodesia
Western Samoa Trust Territory
British Windward Islands
Lately, I have been thinking about the hopes and dreams that sent people on a journey to an unknown world. Was it religious freedom like the Quakers? Could it be the quest of gold or the hope for eternal gold by proselytize a different people? What attitudes did they bring? Did social station withstand the hard work of building a colony timber by timber?
For my birthday (March 13 – shameless plug), my lovely husband bought me two copper engraved maps, one of England (1810) and one of South African (1835). I see stories brewing. Stay tuned.
Bartlett, John (1865). Familiar quotations (4th ed.). Boston: Little, Brown and Company. p. 388.
Bacon, Francis (1841). “An Advertisement Touching a Holy War”.
Maritime Enterprise and the Genesis of the British Empire, 1480-1630.
While the first known photograph was taken not long after the Regency period closed, the idea of capturing someone’s likeness was hardly new. Portraits, sketches, and tapestries have existed for many years, giving us glimpses of the history before there were cameras.
But a portrait was time consuming and expensive. Only the very wealthy and important sat for multiple portraits in their lifetimes. It wasn’t uncommon for someone, even of the middle class, to have only one portrait done in a lifetime.
At least, it wasn’t uncommon until the miniature portrait rose to popularity.
Miniature portraits had been around for a long time, but in the late 1700s a new technique was developed that made then sturdier, easier, and even smaller. They were stippled onto ivory backings using tiny dots.
When King George III’s wife wore a miniature portrait of him on her wrist while sitting for a full size portrait of her own, the craze began. Even the middle class got into the game, since smaller portraits required less time and supplies and were therefore considerably less expensive.
People could even afford to commission portraits of their children and significant events.
Royals had several made to give out as tokens to dignitaries and honored friends.
Through the Regency period, multiple painters switched to making their entire livings off of miniature portraits. Ranging from 1 to 7 inches tall, these portraits were used to remember a loved one, whether distant or deceased, commemorate milestones, and as secret tokens of love.
Close-up miniatures of eyes or even mouths were given as intimate tokens of love, sometimes rather inappropriately. Because a single eye couldn’t be identified as any particular person, the painting could be given in secret, with only the recipient knowing who was really in the picture.
Once painted, the smaller miniatures were set into jewelry, including brooches, necklaces, and bracelets. Larger ones were framed, possibly kept on bedside tables or in other living areas, providing easy access to the beloved images without restraining them to a gallery or significant wall space.
While there aren’t any examples of someone immortalizing their favorite chocolate cake on a brooch, beloved pets or homes were occasionally painted as well.
All pictures obtained from Wikimedia Commons. Click on picture to go to original posting.
Trust. It’s not something people give easily anymore. Between media snafus, misleading internet articles, and photoshop, it’s hard to know what to believe in, so we choose to trust in nothing and no one but ourselves.
I saw a lot of elements of trust play out in Michelle Griep’s Brentwood’s Ward. Trust of ourselves, of others, and of God.
Without giving away too much of the book, I can tell you that at the beginning of the book Nicholas Brentwood doesn’t put much trust in anyone but himself. Even when he knows he should be trusting God, he struggles with shouldering the entire pressure of finding a solution to his sister’s problem. Interestingly, this situation requires him to trust people he barely knows to help him.
Throughout the book, Emily and Nicholas have to learn to trust each other as well as God. When they don’t learn this lesson quickly enough, bad things start to happen. While Nicholas wants Emily to trust him and be honest with him, he isn’t very forthcoming with her. Only when the trust becomes a two-way street do they start to see their relationship blossom.
I loved Nicholas’ sister in this book. For me, she stole every page she was on with a shining light of one who trusts in God completely.
Do you struggle with deciding who to trust and who not to? When tough situations arise, do you keep your trust in God or do you try to control your own future? Perhaps taking a little journey with Emily and Nicholas will help you sort things out.
Leave a comment below to be entered into a drawing for your own copy of Brentwood’s Ward. Everyone who comments on the book’s posts over the last two weeks will be entered. Drawing will take place Sunday, March 1.
“You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy coffee . . . and that’s pretty close.”
Hipsters may think they’re trendy by hanging out at the local coffee house, but nursing a cup of java while discussing the politics of the day has been around a long, long time. In England, this dates back to the seventeenth century. Surprise! Who’d have thought those proper tea-drinking Brits even knew what coffee was?
Here are a few fun facts:
First coffee house opened in Oxford, 1650.
In the 17th and 18th century, there were more coffee houses in London than today.
A mug o’ joe cost a penny, which was a great price because you also gained an education. It was said that a man could “pick up more useful knowledge than by applying himself to his books for a whole month.” Hence the nickname: Penny Universities.
English coffee houses started the custom of tipping servers. Patrons who wanted good service and better seating would put some money into a tin labeled “To Insure Prompt Service (TIPS).
In my Regency era historical, BRENTWOOD’S WARD, I highlight the coffee house phenomenon by setting a scene at The Chapter Coffee House. Women of the times didn’t usually frequent such establishments, but this historical venue is a little different. It was a known haunt of booksellers, writers, and literature hounds. Even Charlotte Brontë visited on occasion.
And just in case you’re wondering if historical coffee would taste the same as today’s brews, here’s a recipe so you can try it yourself:
Coffee ~ A Regency Recipe
Put 2 oz. of fresh-ground quality coffee into a coffeepot. If you must take your coffee extremely strong, use 3 oz. Then pour 8 coffee-cups worth of boiling water atop. Let it rest for 6 minutes. Then add in 2 or 3 isinglass-chips and pour one large spoonful of boiling water on top. Set the pot by the fire to keep it hot for 10 more minutes, and you will have coffee of a supreme transparency.
Serve with fine cream and either fine sugar as well, or pounded sugar-candy.
Whether you love coffee, or love to hate coffee, there’s no denying its deeply imbedded in societies all around the world, present and past. And if you’re looking for a great read to go along with your mug o’ joe, here’s a blurb for BRENTWOOD’S WARD . . .
Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She seeks to glorify God in all that she writes—except for that graffiti phase she went through as a teenager. She resides in the frozen tundra of Minnesota, where she teaches history and writing classes for a local high school co-op. An Anglophile at heart, she runs away to England every chance she gets, under the guise of research. Really, though, she’s eating excessive amounts of scones.
For me, the month of February is a time to reflect on history and progress, as well as love. So, it is my pleasure to spend a little time with Michelle Griep on my southern porch. She’s a woman that writes both historical fiction and nonfiction. I thought you would like to get to know another side of one our Regency authors.
As I gussied up things, I decided to offer ripe strawberries dipped in a healthy dose of chocolate. I hadn’t had quite enough on Valentine’s Day, (thank you, Dear Hubby).
But my friend Michelle won’t have any. Not one bite.
“I hate fruit,” she said, “No, really. Not even strawberries.”
Ok, as I put the tray away for munching later, I begged Michelle to tell me more about herself, something far from London and the 1800’s.
“I am a Trekkie at heart, though I am not fluent in Klingon. Yet. I love to garden, specifically flowers and herbs. Reading is a huge passion of mine, as is eating chocolate, rollerblading, or walking my dog, Ada Clare, Princess of the Universe.”
Seriously, Michelle is a writer’s writer and has carefully studied the craft of writing for years, and as we celebrate her latest release, Brentwood’s Ward, she has also released a book on craft. How did you find the time between rollerblading and the Princess?
“I needed to get this book out. Writers of Regencies and other genres need to know, how do you go about composing and selling the next Great American Novel? WRITER OFF THE LEASH answers these questions and more–all in an easy to understand, tongue-in-cheek style. This is more than a how-to book. It’s my attempt to blow the lid off stodgy old-school rulebooks and make it clear that writing can–and should–be fun.”
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. Follow her adventures and find out about upcoming new releases at her blog, Writer Off the Leash, or stop by her website. You can also find her at the usual haunts of Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.
At the dawn of the Regency era (the period between 1811 and 1820, when George, the Prince of Wales, ruled as Prince Regent), many in London’s aristocracy enjoyed the pleasures afforded them. But in America, a brilliant young man named Adoniram Judson was preparing for a very different life.
In 1811, at the age of 23, Judson decided to become a missionary—at a time when America had yet to send anyone to the foreign mission field—and he set his eyes on India.
“It was during a solitary walk in the woods,” wrote Judson of his call to be a missionary, “while meditating and praying upon the subject, and feeling half inclined to give it up, that the command of Christ, ‘Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,’ was presented to my mind with such clearness and power, that I came to a full decision, and, though great difficulties appeared in my way, resolved to obey the command at all events.”
And Judson would soon take a wife.
Judson had met the beautiful Ann Hasseltine (who most people called “Nancy”) in 1810 at a dinner in her parents’ Massachusetts home. At 21, Ann was the youngest of four children (three girls and a boy) and the pet of the family. Judson was so taken by the beautiful vivacious girl he was struck speechless and spent most of the dinner staring at his plate.
Ann was not impressed. Where was the brilliant young man she had heard so much about?
By this time, Ann was already a Christian. At sixteen, she had picked up a book by Hannah Moore (one of the famed Clapham Sect in London to which William Wilberforce belonged), and read the words, “She that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth.”
Of these words, Ann was later to say, “They struck me to the heart. I stood for a few moments amazed at the incident, and half inclined to think that some invisible agency had directed my eye to those words.” They were to change her life forever—from one of reckless gaiety to one of service for God.
A month after Judson met Ann, he declared his desire to be her suitor in a letter. She did not immediately reply but eventually told him he would have to obtain her father’s permission. So, Judson promptly wrote her father, John Hasseltine of Bradford, to ask for his daughter’s hand:
“I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death.
Can you consent to all this, for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God?
Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?”
The letter must have shocked Ann’s father, but Mr. Hasseltine was unusual and so was his daughter. Though he had misgivings, amazingly, he left the decision to Ann, as did her mother. A courtship followed as Ann considered the costs of giving her life to foreign missions at a time when no American woman had gone to the foreign mission field.
Their courtship lasted a year while Judson solicited support for his mission to India.
On January 1, 1811, he wrote to Ann:
“It is with the utmost sincerity, and with my whole heart, that I wish you, my love, a happy new year.
May it be a year in which your walk will be close with God; your frame calm and serene; and the road that leads you to the Lamb marked with purer light. May it be a year in which you will have more largely the spirit of Christ, be raised above sublunary things, and be willing to be disposed of in this world just as God shall please.
As every moment of the year will bring you nearer the end of your pilgrimage, may it bring you nearer to God, and find you more prepared to hail the messenger of death as a deliverer and a friend.
And now, since I have begun to wish, I will go on.
May this be the year in which you will change your name; in which you will take a final leave of your relatives and native land; in which you will cross the wide ocean, and dwell on the other side of the world, among a heathen people.”
Can you imagine such a courtship? In the time of the Regency era when so many in London were pursuing pleasure, can you conceive of such an unselfish, sacrificial view of life? Ann must have been an amazing woman that she would proceed in the face of so many unknowns and so much danger. But she did proceed.
As the year wore on, Ann and Adoniram, now betrothed, became increasingly conscious of the fact they would soon be saying good-bye to all their friends and family and to all they had known. And as war with England seemed a certainty, Judson was eager to sail. God opened doors. Money and gifts rolled in and their needs were met.
On February 5, 1812, Adoniram and Ann were married in the very room in which they had first met. Seven days later, they set sail from Salem, Massachusetts for India. However, God had another destination in mind.
The East India Company had concluded that the recent mutiny among Indian troops had its origin in religious antagonism to the presence and teaching of foreign missionaries.
So they denied the Judsons permission to remain in India. Instead, they were advised by the American Missionary Society to head toward Burma, which they did.
In July 1813, they landed in the city of Rangoon and were welcomed into the home of English missionaries.
When Adoniram and Ann arrived in Burma, there was not one known Christian in that land of millions. It was to be six, long heart-breaking years before they would see the first convert to Christ. Judson noted in his journal: “Oh, may it prove to be the beginning of a series of baptisms in the Burman empire which shall continue in uninterrupted success to the end of the age.”
Converts were added slowly but they came. And much was achieved. But there was also much opposition. These lines from Judson’s letter to Ann in 1811 proved prophetic:
“We shall no more see our kind friends around us, or enjoy the conveniences of civilized life, or go to the house of God with those that keep holy day; but swarthy countenances will everywhere meet our eye, the jargon of an unknown tongue will assail our ears, and we shall witness the assembling of the heathen to celebrate the worship of idol gods.
We shall be weary of the world, and wish for wings like a dove, that we may fly away and be at rest. We shall probably experience seasons when we shall be exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.
We shall see many dreary, disconsolate hours, and feel a sinking of spirits, anguish of mind, of which now we can form little conception. O, we shall wish to lie down and die. And that time may soon come.”
In 1818, one disaster after another swept over the little mission in Burma.
Cholera raged in the city; the government persecuted the missionaries; it was said the foreigners were to be banished; and war’s alarm floated in the air.
One by one English ships weighed anchor and hastily left the harbor. In 1824, Judson was imprisoned in irons, accused of being a British spy. He spent 21 months in prison, condemned to die.
But in answer to prayers and Ann’s incessant pleadings to officials, Judson’s life was spared and British intervention freed him from imprisonment.
Ann, who had so faithfully ministered to him while he was in prison, died in 1826 at 37 after a long period of ill health. She had two children, a son, Roger Williams (born in 1815) and a daughter, Maria (born in 1825). Both died in infancy.
In 1850, at age 62, after a lifetime given to Burma and out-living two more wives, broken in health, Judson began his journey home to the United States, but he never reached its shores. He died on board ship on April 12, 1850.
Ann and Adoniram gave their lives for God and Burma, and their legacy was a great one.
Adoniram mastered the Burmese language (possibly the most difficult language to acquire, excepting Chinese), writing and speaking it with the familiarity of a native and the elegance of a cultured scholar, and by 1834, translated the entire Bible into Burmese. His biographers believe that his translation was “undoubtedly his greatest contribution to the people among whom he chose…to spend and be spent for Christ’s sake.”
Ann, too, learned Burmese (and Siamese), did translation work, taught Burmese girls, managed her household and cared for her husband. In 1822, when she was home in the United States briefly because of ill health, she wrote a history of the Burmese work titled American Baptist Mission to the Burman Empire. It was published in 1823.
Sometime after Adoniram’s death a government survey recorded 210,000 Christians in Burma, one out of every fifty-eight! Such an amazing impact their lives had.
If you would like to read more of Adoniram Judson’s life, I recommend To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson, a work of nonfiction and very good.
After years of practicing law in both the private sector and government, and traveling to over 40 countries, Regan has returned to her love of telling stories. She writes mainline Regency romances. To learn more about her stories, see her website: http://www.reganwalkerauthor.com.
Last fall, I wrote about researching my latest regency romance. Well, this month it is available and I thought I’d give readers an update. My title and cover have been changed. It is now title She Shall Be Praised and the new cover is below.
She Shall Be Praised (from Proverbs 31) is a sequel to my London-set Regency, The Rogue’s Redemption. In Book 2 of The Leighton Sisters series, Katie Leighton, younger sister of Hester Leighton from The Rogue’s Redemption, travels to Paris with Hester and her husband, Gerrit Hawkes.
Paris has been liberated from Napoleon by the British and other allied countries, so tourists are once again traveling from England to the Continent. Katie, who travels from America (Maine), meets a young French veteran who fought at Waterloo against the British. Among the narrow medieval street of Paris and the monuments like Notre Dame, Katie finds herself more interested in visiting the blind, cripple veteran at Les Invalides, a hospital and old-age home for veterans.
I love France and all things French, from the food to the art. It was interesting to research this period, when the horrors of the French Revolution and the years of wars under Napoleon have brought about the restored monarchy. But along with the new king, comes a wave of reactionary politics as the aristocrats come back from their emigration during the Reign of Terror, wanting to have their place in society restored. They want things back the way they used to be. But too many people have tasted the freedom under the civil government of Napoleon, so there is a clash of old school vs. new.
The land has been devastated by years of war, so France has missed out on the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution and the prosperity it has brought to Britain. And yet, during this time of the Restoration, people continue to live their lives.
Katie Leighton, my “beauty” in this beauty and the beast tale, doesn’t consider herself a beauty, but a plain Jane. Etienne Santerre, my “beast” hides under both an assumed name and behind the thick walls of Les Invalides, a virtual prisoner of his evil valet, Pierre. There is a mystery surrounding Etienne’s background, which Katie senses, but which Etienne is silent on. In the meantime, she is more concerned with his soul. Little by little, her light begins to shine into Etienne’s darkness.
The story takes Etienne from the walls of Les Invalides to the Loire Valley to his ancestral home. There he faces what he has tried to blot out since he landed at Les Invalides, a wounded, crippled soldier. When his life is most at risk, he begins to turn to the God Katie has witnessed to him.
Etienne is a dark hero, sorely in need of Beauty’s touch. She shares her faith with him in her gentle, loving way, until he lets down his defenses and allows the healing power of love to restore all he has lost.
Many a fictional aristocratic hero had spent a great deal of time at “his club”. While many clubs of various affiliations and interests were started in the late Georgian era and throughout the Victorian period, the Regency was dominated by the gentlemen’s clubs marching down St. James Street.
The three oldest and most established clubs set the example. And while many have come and gone since the 1820s, the three powerhouses remain today, still sitting in the same locations our heroes visited.
The granddaddy of the the London gentlemen’s clubs, White’s was first established in 1693, at the site of what would later become Boodle’s.
It started life innocently enough as a hot chocolate emporium, but shifted to an exclusive club and gambling den in 1736. In the late 1700s it moved down St. James street to its current location. Soon after that it became known as the club of those affiliated with the Tory political party. (A more extensive history of the movement can be found here.)
Though not the only club sporting a bay window, it was the most famous bay window. Being seen sitting in White’s window was a sign of popularity and prestige.
White’s was and is still a men only club. Queen Elizabeth II is the only woman known to have been entertained at the club. Entrance into the club has always been difficult, with an exceedingly long wait list and a discerning membership policy. Today a potential member must be vouched for by at least 35 existing members.
That exclusivity is probably why only one man has been recorded as leaving the club voluntarily. While others have left through death or shameful forced resignation, Prime Minister David Cameron is said to have resigned White’s over there men-only rule.
If the club has a website, I couldn’t find it. Though there are several other London establishments trying to cash in on the popularity and prestige of the White’s name.
Brook’s has been a private club from its inception. In 1762 it started as a private society formed by two men blackballed from White’s. The society then split into two groups, each of which established their own club.
One of these groups consisted of nearly thirty prominent members of the Whig political party. They established the group that would later become Brook’s, though the club was originally named Almack’s because they met at William Almack’s coffee house, very near the prestigious Almack’s Assembly Rooms.
The group moved to its current home on St. James Street in 1778 into a building built by William Brooks, a wine merchant who acted as manager of Almack’s.
While all gentlemen’s clubs were known for gambling, Brook’s gaming rooms were notoriously going day and night.
While Brook’s does not allow women to become full members, they do allow female guests. And while their website is certainly easier to find, unless you’re a member you don’t get more than a pretty picture of the building’s facade.
If you’re wondering what happened to the group on the other side of the split that formed Brook’s, you have only to look down St. James Street to Boodle’s.
While the other group met at Almack’s coffee house, this group, friends of Lord Shelburne, future Marquess of Lansdowne and Prime Minister, met at the tavern. The tavern was taken over by Edward Boodle, from whom the club takes it’s name.
It moved to it’s current location on St. James Street in 1782. It almost closed in 1896, but the members gathered enough funds to purchase the club from the heirs.
Probably the reason Boodle’s is mentioned less in Regency novels is that the club became the meeting place of the gentry while White’s maintained it’s claim to the more senior members of the nobility. While a few titles can be found on Boodle’s membership list, there are considerably more gentlemen than aristocrats.
Boodle’s is the only one of the three clubs that allows female members, though they have their own entrance.
How do you feel about Regency heroes being members of these clubs? Which one would you want to belong to?