Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Antiquarian Clubs - the Noviomagians


We have already seen how the more convivially disposed members of Learned Societies have, from time to time, formed themselves into Clubs. The Royals have done so, ab initio. The Antiquaries appear to have given up their Club and their Anniversary Dinner; but certain of the Fellows, resolving not to remain impransi, many years since, formed a Club, styled "Noviomagians," from the identification of the Roman station of Noviomagus being just then discovered, or rather

"Rife and celebrated in the mouths

Of wisest men."

One of the Club-founders was Mr. A. J. Kempe; and Mr. Crofton Croker was president more than twenty years. Lord Londesborough and Mr. Corner, the Southwark antiquary, were also Noviomagians; and in the present Club-list are Sir William Betham, Mr. Fairholt, Mr. Godwin, Mr. S. C. Hall, Mr. Lemon, etc. The Club dine together once a month during the season at the old tavern next the burial-place of Joe Miller in Portugal Street. Here the Fellows meet for the promotion of good fellowship and antiquarian pursuits. "Joking minutes are kept, in which would be found many known names, either as visitors or associates,—Theodore Hook, Sir Henry Ellis, Britton, Dickens, Thackeray, John Bruce, Jerdan, Planché, Bell, Maclise, etc." The Club and its visitors may have caught inspiration here; for in their sallies movere jocum, they have imitated the wits at Strawberry Hill, and found Arms for the Club, with a butter-boat rampant for the crest, which is very significant.

In 1855, Lord Mayor Moon, F.S.A., entertained at the Mansion House the Noviomagians, and the office-bearers of the Society of Antiquaries to meet them. After dinner, some short papers were read, including one by Mr. Lemon, of the State Paper Office, presenting some curious illustrations of the state of society in London in the reign of James I., showing the "Migration of Citizens Westward." (See Romance of London, vol. iii. pp. 315-320.)

John Timbs
Club Life of London Vol. I
London, 1866