The Fox Club, in the heart of Mayfair, is an enjoyable, convivial and historic London club, and very popular with CountryClubuk Members. Its style of laid-back bonhomie perhaps emanates from the character of its original resident, Charles James Fox, the great 18th-century Whig statesman, a leader of the Liberal Party, one-time Foreign Secretary—as the blue plaque outside the front door proclaims—and a man of engaging charm and character. Many celebrated politicians lived nearby to add to the local colour, including Prime Minister Gladstone.
Now the Georgian townhouse is comfortable and intimate home-from-home for its members, and ours, offering nine rooms and suites on five floors, and providing a fabulous central location to stay in London, only minutes from St James’s and the Royal Palaces, Bond Street and the West End shops, theatres and galleries. The well-frequented bar is a nightly watering-hole for local members as well as out-of-towners, and the intimate dining room serves classic British cooking as well as afternoon teas and a rather good breakfast.
Charles James Fox (1749-1806) was one of the most colourful figures in 18th century politics, a man who epitomised the 18th-century concept of the complete man. He was a renowned dancer, drinker, womaniser, gambler, hunting man and horseman. In addition, he was culturally informed, having a knowledge of Old Masters, languages and political debate. His reputation was that of the greatest orator of his time.
Fox was born in London on January 24, 1749, the first son of Henry Fox, later first Baron Holland. On his mother’s side he was descended from King Charles II. His association with 46 Clarges Street started from his marriage to its original owner, Elizabeth Armistead, a well known and certainly well respected courtesan of the time. Though their secret marriage, in 1775, shocked society, their union was certainly a love story to match all others. For Elizabeth Armistead was a woman who had improved herself by all measures, taking care to educate herself and bear herself in such a manner as to be a fitting wife of one of England’s finest statesmen.
Fox had a traumatic public career and his expenditure always exceeded his income. At one point during 1783, with great sadness Mrs Armistead attempted to sever their relationship. She received a passionate reply from Fox who declared that wherever she went, he would go … ‘I would change my name and live with you in the remotest part of Europe in poverty and obscurity. I could bear that very well, to be parted I cannot bear … I cannot live without you … ’ She relented and is widely acknowledged as having been a steadying influence on him. His time in office, during 1782, was controversial and brief and he longed for a return to power. While he wheeled and dealed in Parliament, Mrs Armistead saw to it that at 46 Clarges Street there were meals on the table and he was well dressed.
Fox was a hugely popular figure in London society and was always forgiven his vices and shortcomings. He had, in common with his wife, a good heart, so it was hardly surprising that in 1793, when he was on the verge of bankruptcy, a committee was formed to collect money to settle his huge debts. Deeply touched, Fox wrote, ‘I think it is the most honourable thing that has ever happened to anyone’; contributions were so numerous that his bills were paid with enough left over to provide an income for life. By all accounts, Mr and Mrs Charles Fox were inseparable. As his political existence entered a wilderness period, they enjoyed years of companionship and happiness. More than ever, 46 Clarges Street became a gathering place for Whig society, as it is now for CountryClubuk Members and their guests.
The Fox Club lies just off Piccadilly, a short walk from The Ritz and Buckingham Palace. As a CountryClubuk Member you may frequent the Club at any time it is open, and take your personal guests. The Club is residential, and therefore it is open 24 hours, seven days a week.
Nine Guest Rooms & Suites
The Club Bar
The Club Dining Room
There is no lift.
46 Clarges Street
London W1J 7ER
The nearest Underground stations are Green Park, Hyde Park Corner and Picadilly Circus.
Please call Member Services on 020 7399 2960 to check availability and make your reservations in advance, then present your CountryClubuk membership card on arrival.