Crockford club

Crockford was well aware that most famous clubs (such as White and Brooks) are popular because of their initial aristocracy and chosenness. If he intends to make them a worthy competition, he will have to surpass these snobbish establishments and create something that will attract the cream of English high society. And so something, and the intentions of William Crockford were the most serious. No sooner said than done. He buys four houses adjacent to one another, located on the corner of St. James’s Street in a very fashionable area of ​​London, and furnishes them with defiant luxury. In his institution serves the best wines and the finest dishes at very reasonable prices. Among the members of the newly created club there are several persons worthy of every respect. The first violin is played in this select society by the Duke of Wellington and Lord Chesterfield (who had previously gained notoriety, having lost about $ 115,000 for one game to the Hazard). Behind them, Lord Rivers, Lord Sefton and Lord Granville received club membership. By their appearance at the club, they contributed a lot to further strengthening his reputation as one of the most fashionable establishments of this kind in London. In the first days they managed to lose in just one night more than 500,000 dollars each! High stakes were not something out of the ordinary in the gambling circles of London. But there was something in the Crockford club (apart from its inherent brilliance and splendor, the chosen society and the hypnotic charm of a big game), which not only attracted to it all sorts of people who were eager to become one of its members, but in some inexplicable way gave birth to in their hearts a kind of corporate loyalty to the club. Crockford willingly turned a blind eye to the sometimes monstrous debts of individual members of the club (from time to time they owed up to a million dollars) and with almost painful persistence demanded that everyone and everyone observe the strictest confidentiality in all that concerned the club itself, its traditions and members. An involuntary confirmation of this was Crockford’s call in the early 40s of the last century to the commission on gambling affairs of the House of Commons, where he flatly refused to answer any questions concerning his club’s members, saying: “I don’t feel entitled to disclose any details of the private lives of gentlemen. » But, as life itself showed, the stubbornness with which Crockford defended the inviolability of the hobbies of members of his club (many of whom held high posts in the British parliament, including Disraeli himself) led to nothing. The commission granted the police the right “upon the first application of any two homeowners to enter the premises of a gambling establishment”. This clearly meant the end of all privacy that members of elite clubs had previously enjoyed. Four days after this momentous decision was made (May 25, 1844), William Crockford died at the age of 69, leaving behind a state that, according to some estimates, was 5,000,000 pounds sterling. After his death, the club he created gradually fell into disrepair. But a century later, he was revived again, this time as a golf club. And recently he has again won his former glory of an aristocratic gambling establishment for a chosen society.