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Army and Navy Club

Army and Navy Club

London, United Kingdom

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The Rag – Army & Navy Club, established in 1837, is one of London’s most prestigious private member clubs, originally for military and naval officers but now welcoming professional men and women from both military and civilian backgrounds who like to enjoy the benefits which membership of a historic club offers.

    A home in St James’s
    The first clubhouse, a rented property, was located at No 1 King Street on the north corner of St. James’s Square. In August 1847, a block of five houses was purchased on the present day site of the Club on Pall Mall and by 1851 an elegant building was ready for its members. Architects, Parnell & Smith, took as their model for the ground and first floors the Palazzo Cornaro in Venice, but based the upper storey on the Library of St. Mark.
    The Rag
    Shortly after opening, the Club acquired its famous nickname, when Captain William (Billy) Higginson Duff, a colourful character with a brief and undistinguished military career was offended by the spartan nature of the fare offered to him on returning from a spree. He described the Club as a ‘Rag and Famish affair’ which was intended as a great insult, since the ‘Rag and Famish’ was a squalid gaming house ‘for broken down gamblers who played for coppers’.
    Re-building the Club
    Throughout the years the Club went through several minor changes but by 1958 it became apparent that the Club would need to expand and that the original Clubhouse could not sustain the refurbishment.

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Where we're based
36-39 Pall Mall, St. James's, London SW1Y 5JN, UK
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