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White’s is London’s oldest gentleman’s club, established at 4 Chesterfield Street in 1693 by Italian immigrant Francesco Bianco (AKA “Francis White”).
Originally it was established to sell hot chocolate, a rare and expensive commodity at the time (and the source of it’s original title of “Mrs.White’s Chocolate House”). These “chocolate houses” were seen as hotbeds of dissent by Charles II, but many converted into fashionable and respectable Gentlemen’s clubs like White’s.
In the early 18th century White’s was notorious as a gambling house and those who frequented it were known as “the gamesters of White’s”. Johnathan Swift referred to White’s as the “bane of half the English nobility”
In 1778 it moved to its present address in St James’s Street on the east side of the street where it still presides. In 1783 it was the unofficial headquaters of the Tory party. It’s members today are made up from Royalty, the aristocracy and noble gentlemen. It remains as one of the few men only clubs.
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