Turk’s Head Club

I’ve just realised that tomorrow is the 250th. anniversary to the day of what Joshua Reynolds called the Turk’s Head Club, others called (at least later in its life) the Literary Club, and was sometimes referred to, at least by Samuel Johnson and his friends, as just the club (although confusingly Reynolds has entries in his pocketbook referring to his attendance at ‘Club’ long before the Turk’s Head Club was established).   It was set up by Joshua Reynolds so that his and Samuel Johnson’s close friends could enjoy each others’ company on a regular basis – in fact, every week in an upstairs room on Monday evenings in the Turk’s Head tavern in Gerrard Street, where they were looked after by the publican Charles Swinden.   The site of the tavern still exists and is now a Chinese supermarket.   So, tomorrow night we should all raise a glass to Samuel Johnson and his friends, who included Oliver Goldsmith and Edmund Burke.   Not a bad club, I think.

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2 thoughts on “Turk’s Head Club

  1. Paul Ruxin says:

    yes Charles, not a bad club at al…..how is the updated history coming? Will I be able to get a copy, or members only? I’m enjoying your blog… And giving a version of my talk about the Club Wednesday at The Club of Odd Volumes in Boston. Paul

    • Dear Paul, The history is coming along well. My part is written. David Cannadine and Peter Hennessy are working on theirs. It’s due to be published in December and copies will be available for sale – I hope either from Sotherans or Maggs (not yet discussed with them). Say hallo to the Club of Odd Volumes. I had lunch with them in 1977. Charles

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