Club History

1876 - A few actors met in The Albion Tavern, which once stood where The Fortune Theatre is now and decided on starting a club of their own, where the actors would be in the majority. The idea was just little acorns but from that grew a mighty oak. The plan was afoot and not long after that meeting things would be put into motion to create The Green Room Club.

After losing a vote in their club, The Junior Garrick, a club for actors, musicians, actor managers and their ilk, a meeting was called in the dressing room of Mr.David James and Mr.Thomas Thorne at The Vaudeville Theatre. The whole cast and two important men, Mr.Murray Marks and Hon.Lewis Wingfield were present. The latter were men of money. Mr.Murray Marks was an art connoisseur, collector and man of wealth and also a great lover of the theatre. Both of them were deeply interested in finding a suitable but pleasing venue and from that night forward they resolved to do just that.

1877 - 21st July marks the inauguration of The Green Room Club over luncheon at The Criterion Restaurant, presided over by the club's first president, Henry Somerset, the 8th Duke of Beaufort. Afterwards they proceeded to the their first premises, 10 Adelphi Terrace, inside The Caledonian Hotel, joined by two guests, Samuel Phelps and Benjamin Nottingham Webster.

1883 - The lease expired at The Caledonian Hotel so new premises where needed to be found. 20 Bedford Street was deemed the best but needed some alterations before the club to move in so it was housed temporarily above a portmanteau makers at 22 King Street next door to Messrs. Moss Bros. Once the work was carried out the club opened and the majority of the members were glad of the new premise.

During its stay at Bedford Street it had many ups and downs. A particular down was the tragic murder of William Terris in 1897 outside the stage door of The Adelphi Theatre where he was starring in Secret Service, and the 8th Duke of Beaufort passed away in 1899 having been Club President for 22 years. Sir Squire Bancroft took on the mantle and after many years at Bedford Street the membership had swelled to nearly 400, mostly younger actors whose demands for more space had to be answered. So in 1902 new premises was sought.

1903 - In may a lease was signed for 46 Leicester Square, the space was above Thurston Billiard Hall which later became known as Leicester Square Hall. They took residence on the 2nd,3rd,4th and top floors. Murray Marks was in charge of the interior design with the help of Sir Johnstone Forbes-Robertson. It remained in these wonderful premises until 1940. During these times the club grew and grew in size. Members had the use of the billiard room they so desparately wanted. An oak pannelled dining room and club room. Rooms in which to stay and it was reported that Monet stayed in the club and painted Leicester Square from one of its balconies.

Tragedy struck in the early hours of 16th Ocotber 1940 when a bomb destroyed the front of the building. Quite a lot of the artifacts collected and donated over the years were gone forever. But from the rubble the members did what actors do and that is the show must go on. They immeadiatley sort out a temporary home while their club was rebuilt. The Royal Societies Club in St. James's Street was home for the time being.

1940 - In December of that year the owners of the premises, The Automobile Association offered the club a new venue as the club in its present space was unusable due to the significant bomb damage so, with heavy hearts, the club moved to Whitcomb Street, around the corner from Leicester Square, next door to The Lord Belgrave public house. It was a long thin building over several floors but it was going to be home until the Leicester Square premises was ready to move back in.

1954 - Sadly the lease expires on the Whitcomb Street premises and the club is forced to move once more. During its stay at Whitcomb Street two of its members were knighted, Sir Ralph Richardson and Sir Laurence Olivier. After much negotiation the club secured a twelve and a half year lease on 8-9 Adam Street and moved in on 28th June 1955.

1955 - Opening cocktail party was held to celebrate the new Green Room Club at Adam Street. Seventy eight years had passed since its original inauguration luncheon and now the club was back again in the Adelphi area and only a few yards from its first home.