Records of the Pitt Club of London
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Biographical / Historical
The London Pitt Club was founded in 1793 to support the prime minister, William Pitt the younger, and to counteract the principles emanating from revolutionary France, with which Britain was now at war. After Pitt’s death the Club was refounded in 1808 to perpetuate his memory and to uphold the political principles for which he had stood. Meetings were to be held in February, March and April, with a grand dinner on the anniversary of his birth (28 May). There seems to have been no restriction on the size of membership, and the May dinner of 1828 was attended by ‘300 noblemen and gentlemen of the highest respectability’, including most of the leaders of the Tory party. In the following two decades membership declined, and the last meeting was held on 15 May 1849, when that year’s anniversary dinner was cancelled.
In 1888 the London Pitt Club was resuscitated as a dining club, with a membership of 100, restricted to peers, sons of peers, privy councillors, members of the Carlton Club, and sons of members of the Pitt Club who were candidates for the Carlton; to whom by 1912 had been added members of the diplomatic service and officers of the Army and Navy. Two dinners were to be held annually, one of them on or close to the birthday of William Pitt.
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Immediate Source of Acquisition
The records catalogued here were all generated during the lifetime of the revived Club, and were in the possession of Lieutenant Colonel E.P. Warner, Honorary Secretary between 1966 and (probably) 1982, at the time of his death in the latter year. They were presented to the University Library in 2009 by Colonel Warner’s daughter, Dame Marina Warner.
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