Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1693-onwards - St James’s Street (Westminster)

White’s at no. 37 St James’s Street is London’s oldest and most exclusive gentleman’s club which was established in 1693 at no. 4 Chesterfield Street, Mayfair, by an Italian immigrant named Francesco Bianco. It was originally a hot chocolate emporium under the name Mrs White’s Chocolate House. A fire destroyed the coffeehouse in 1773. It re-opened in 1775 as White’s Club and continues to this day. White’s was turned into an exclusive club and notorious gambling house. Jonathan Swift referred to White’s as the bane of half the English nobility’. In 1778 it moved to no. 37/8 St James’s Street. From 1783 it was the unofficial headquarters of the Tory party, while Brooks’s, the Whig’s club, was just down the road.

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