‘Were I a member of Brooks’s, I might wonder whether it was prudent of the club to lay bare so many of its arcane practices and bizarre scandals; as an occasional but gratified guest over the past forty years, I am enchanted by these indiscretions.’
Kenneth Rose, The Times Literary Supplement
Brooks’s: A Social History
(joint editor with Philip Ziegler) Constable, 1991Founded in 1764, with the oldest purpose-built club-house in the world (1778) Brooks’s has ever since been at the heart of London’s political and social life. Although a Whig club, members have always included a number of Tories, and a strong literary and artistic element. The criterion for membership is congeniality, not politics – the club’s patron saint being Charles James Fox, a man whose charm, generosity and tolerance were the wonder of his age.Whether the Whig tradition still survives, in temperament if not in politics, is a question this book sets out to answer. In a series of essays, twenty members review the principal periods of the club’s history and the elements that contribute to its highly individual nature. They combine to form a serious contribution to the social history of the British Isles over the last two centuries. Seward’s essay was on the St James’ Club, which had merged with Brooks’s.