Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 The United Service Club


One of the oldest of the modern Clubs, was instituted the year after the Peace of 1815, when a few officers of influence in both branches of the Service had built for them, by Sir R. Smirke, a Club-house at the corner of Charles-street and Regent-street,—a frigid design, somewhat relieved by sculpture on the entrance-front, of Britannia distributing laurels to her brave sons by land and sea. Thence the Club removed to a more spacious house, in Waterloo-place, facing the Athenæum; the Club-house in Charles-street being entered on by the Junior United Service Club; but Smirke's cold design has been displaced by an edifice of much more ornate exterior and luxurious internal appliances.

The United Service Club (Senior) was designed by Nash, and has a well-planned interior, exhibiting the architect's well-known excellence in this branch of his profession. The principal front facing Pall Mall has a Roman-Doric portico; and above it a Corinthian portico, with pediment. One of the patriarchal members of the Club was Lord Lynedoch, the hero of the Peninsular War, who lived under five sovereigns: he died in his 93rd year, leaving behind him a name to be held in honoured remembrance, while loyalty is considered to be a real virtue, or military renown a passport to fame. It is a curious fact that the Duke of Wellington fought his last battle at an earlier period of life than that in which Lord Lynedoch "fleshed his maiden sword;" and though we were accustomed to regard the Duke himself as preserving his vigour to a surprisingly advanced age, Lord Lynedoch was at his death old enough to have been the father of his Grace. The United Service was the favourite Club of the Duke, who might often be seen dining here on a joint; and on one occasion, when he was charged 1s. 3d. instead of 1s. for it, he bestirred himself till the threepence was struck off. The motive was obvious: he took the trouble of objecting, so that he might sanction the principle.

Among the Club pictures is Jones's large painting of the Battle of Waterloo; and the portrait of the Duke of Wellington, painted for the Club by W. Robinson. Here also are Stanfield's fine picture of the Battle of Trafalgar; and a copy, by Lane, painted in 1851, of a contemporary portrait of Sir Francis Drake, our "Elizabethan Sea-King." The Club-house has of late years been considerably enlarged.

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