January 21, 2019
The desire to be with and around other people is an innate human characteristic. In evolutionary terms, humans quickly worked out that strength in numbers equalled survival, and this need to seek connections and to form bonds with others has remained within us over time, even as the threats to our existence have altered and diminished. The need to band together to fend off attack or to kill for food has been replaced by a want for social interaction and companionship. For most, school is the first place we begin to form relationships with like-minded fellow humans and where we form groups, teams, cliques and gangs. In 19th century London, the desire to maintain these friendships beyond school and university gave rise to the gentleman’s club. These clubs were formed on a membership basis open only to those considered to be of ‘gentleman’ status and centred on a common interest such as politics, art, sport, travel, university or section of the armed forces. As the British Empire spread so too did gentleman’s club – to India, Hong Kong, and Australia. Eventually, women were allowed to follow suit and form their own clubs. Henceforth, these exclusive clubs came to be known as ‘private member’s’ clubs.