The Scottish Conservative Club
Text and formatting by George P. Landow
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Club-Land on the Scottish Conservative Club
"The Scottish Conservative Club, in Princes Street, Edinburgh, takes rank as one of the big clubs of the kingdom. Its total membership is now about two thousand three hundred. This number includes country members. The club was started in 1877 at a meeting presided over by Lord Balfour of Burleigh. It began with eight hundred members, but soon had to increase. Its country connections are very widespread, and the influence of the club is, so far as Scotland is concerned, national rather than local. Edinburgh has been for years out of harmony with Conservative principles: "advanced Liberals" hold possession, but we are told that the Conservative party, by means of the club, are working hard to recover lost ground. As a social club the Scottish Conservative does its duty admirably. It is, to begin with, splendidly housed. The present club-house, erected on the site of the original premises, was opened in February, 1884. The building. designed by our eminent Scottish architect, Dr. Rowand Anderson, is in the style of the Early Italian Kenaissance, and is built of Polmaise freestone, with a red-tile roof-covering, and a frontage to Princes Street of over sixty-seven feet. The oriel windows (see illustration) on the west side belong to the reading, dining, and smoking rooms. The hall and grand staircase form one of the leading features of the building, the wainscoted walls and the groined arches being very effective. On the staircase there is a stained-glass window in memory of Lord Beaconsfield. The woodwork, wall panels, mantelpieces, etc., of the reading-room are walnut; of the library, Californian redwood; and of the dining-room oak. At a club dinner two hundred and fifty guests can be accommodated. The kitchens, by a wise arrangement, are at the top of the house, and are a model of good order. They sparkle with glowing brass and bright steel, and have a most comfortable and cleanly appearance. All the cooking is done by steam. The bedrooms, nineteen in number, are of course much in demand; they are a special feature in the Scottish Conservative, with its strong contingent of country members. The electric light is now in use in all the principal rooms. The cost of the building, irrespective of site, has been over £30,000."
"In my notice of this admirably appointed and well-managed club, in which, all the leading Conservatives of Scotland have an interest, I have left to the last mention of the principal smoking-room — to my mind one of the chief glories of the place. All the requirements of a smoking-room are present there: size, comfort, good ventilation, cosy seats, and then, to crown all, an outlook from the windows that no other club in the kingdom can rival. The mass of the Castle Kock with its grey green cliffs, the verdant expanse of the gardens, the spring flush as I saw it the other day on the trees that line the walk â€ — what a beautiful background these make to the ever-changing life of the busy street below ! One could hardly ever grow tired of watching it from the vantage point of the bow window of the club, with its cunningly constructed dais." [92-94]
Hatton, Joseph. Clubland London and Provincial. London: J. S. Vertie, 1890. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of Toronto Library. Web. 29 February 2012.
Last modified 29 February 2012