Boodles is an exclusive private members’ club in London, England, renowned for having hosted Winston Churchill, members of the British aristocracy and author Ian Fleming.
History of Boodles
The club was founded in 1762 by William Petty Fitzmaurice, then-Earl of Shelburne, who would later become Marquess of Lansdowne and then Prime Minister from 1782-1783. The club’s initial location was on Pall Mall, a street in the Westminster area of central London, before moving to its current location on St. James’s Street in 1782, a street adjoining Pall Mall.
The club’s name derives from its head waiter, Edward Boodle.
Boodles quickly built up a prestigious reputation among London’s powerful and wealthy classes, and its membership reflected this, numbering numerous politicians and members of the British aristocracy. Members have included former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, John Profumo (a politician who resigned after the notorious Profumo affair scandal, whereby he was revealed as having an affair with 19-year-old model Christine Keeler), philosopher David Hume, economist and philosopher Adam Smith, and author Ian Fleming, creator of the world’s most famous fictional spy, James Bond.
Fleming used to visit the club for lunch, though it’s not known whether he enjoyed the club’s famous Orange Fool, an indulgent traditional British dessert made with fruit and cream that became synonymous with Boodles. It’s said that Fleming based Blades, a fictional private members’ club in the James Bond series (mentioned in two Bond novels, 1955’s Moonraker and You Only Live Twice in 1964) largely on Boodles. Certainly, the architectural features and opulent décor of Blades described by Fleming in his novels both bear similarities to Boodles.
Boodles continues to operate today and membership is still only possible through an election process.
Getting to Boodles
Boodles is set on St James’s Street, an upscale street in central London near to landmarks including St James’s Palace, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Academy of Arts.
Green Park Tube is minutes away on foot and other tube stations, such as Piccadilly Circus, are also nearby, as are numerous bus stops.