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National Maritime Museum

Royal Navy Club of 1765 & 1785 (United 1889)


Reference code(s): GB 0064 RNC

Held at: National Maritime Museum

Title: Royal Navy Club of 1765 & 1785 (United 1889)

Date(s): [1765-1950]

Level of description: Collection

Extent: 9ft: 274cm

Name of creator(s): Royal Navy Club of 1765
Royal Navy Club of 1785
United Club


Administrative/Biographical history:

The inaugural meeting of the Royal Naval Club of 1765 took place in February of that year. The object was to dine fortnightly at the St Albans' Tavern, St Albans Street from November to April. At the end of the first 'season', the meetings were transferred to the Castle Tavern, Henrietta Street and in 1767 to the Shakespeare's Head Tavern, Covent Garden. Members were elected by ballot and in 1768 an annual subscription of one guinea was imposed. The 'Widows and Legitimate Orphans' Fund' was started in 1792, using the money in hand from the surplus of the annual subscriptions. The club met at the Crown and Anchor Tavern in the Strand from 1806 to 1825 and then transferred to the Piazza Coffee House, Covent Garden, in 1826. A Copenhagen dinner was instituted in 1831 and a Trafalgar dinner in 1833. The Thatched Tavern, St James Street, became the venue of dinners in 1850 and Willis's Rooms, King Street, served that purpose from 1862 to 1889. As the 1765 club met from November to April and Parliament sat from February to June, there was room for a new club to cater for officers who were likely to be in town when Parliament was sitting. The first recorded meeting of the new club, called the Royal Navy Club of 1785, was in February of that year at the Star and Carter Tavern, Pall Mall. At the outset membership was limited to 150 whereas the 1765 club had unlimited membership. H J Kelly (d 1893), who was already secretary of the older club, was appointed first salaried secretary of the 1785 club in 1871. Before this time the books were apparently kept by the master of the tavern. Since 1862 both clubs held their meetings in Willis's Rooms and more than two-thirds of the members belonged to both, so that amalgamation seemed logical. This came into effect on 1 January 1889. Kelly was a natural choice for the secretary of the new club. Most of the prominent naval officers of their day were members of the club, which still exists today.


Scope and content/abstract:

Records of the Royal Navy Club of 1765 and 1785. They consist of: Minutes: meetings, 1846 to 1888; annual general meetings, 1765 to 1845: Navy Club of 1785, general meetings, 1810 to 1888: United Club, the committee, 1889 to 1924; agenda, 1894 to 1939. Accounts: United, 1895 to 1940. Cash books: 1765 Club, 1830 to 1877; 1785 Club, 1840 to 1873. Donations to Memorialists: 1765 Club, 1824 to 1934. Other records include: Club, 1827 to 1841; United Club, 1889 to 1934. Attendance Books: 1765 Club, 1822 to 1830, 1845 to 1849; 1785 Club, 1785 to 1803; United Club, 1895 to 1903, 1938 to 1954. Subscription Books: 1765 Club, 1797 to 1888; 1785 Club, 1825 to 1841; United Club, 1889 to 1954. Address books: 1785 Club, c 1881; United Club, c 1914 to 1919 and ca.1939 to 1950. There are also nine boxes of loose letters, accounts, reports, correspondence, memorials and copies of the rules relating to the whole range of the Clubs' activities, 1824 to 1927; and a book of pencil drawings, c 1840, by Admiral Robert Patton (1791-1883).


Language/scripts of material: English

System of arrangement:

Conditions governing access:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Please contact the Archive for further information.

Finding aids:

Detailed catalogue online at the: National Maritime Museum website .


Archival history:

Immediate source of acquisition:

The records were deposited on loan in 1968 and 1976 by the club when it had to give up its office in the Royal United Service Institution.



Archivist's note: Edited by Sarah Drewery, Sep 2011.

Rules or conventions: Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions: 2011-05-13

Armed forces | State security
Clubs | Leisure time activities | Leisure
Military organizations

Personal names
Patton | Robert | 1791-1883 | Admiral

Corporate names
Royal Navy Club