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The Savage Club

The National Liberal Club current
location of The Savage Club

Today in Masonic History we discuss The Savage Club.

The Savage Club is a gentlemens club in England open to individuals either professionals in the fields of art, drama, law, literature, music or science or individuals with a serious interest in one of those subjects.

The Savage Club had it's first meeting in 1857. Invitations were sent out to a variety of individuals and prospective members inviting them to the first meeting. In the letter it stated that 'a meeting of gentlemen connected with literature and the fine arts, and warmly interested in the promotion of Christian knowledge, and the sale of excisable liquors' was planned. It also stated that the meeting was to discuss 'forming a social society or club'. Initially the club was only open to those in literature and the fine arts.

At a later meeting the subject of what to name themselves was discussed. A variety of names were discussed and generally literary giants of the current time period were suggested as potential names for the club. When someone eventually suggested Shakespeare, one of the members spoke up stating that as a group they were taking themselves too seriously and would in turn make themselves ridiculous. With that statement made it was suggested that they name themselves after Richard Savage, an 18th century poet who is best known as the subject of a friends biography rather than his own writings. This seemed to fit the bill and The Savage Club was named.

In the beginning of the club many of the members were bohemian journalists writing for The Illustrated London News. Many of those who joined The Savage Club felt they would not be welcomed in the Garrick Club which formed more than twenty years earlier. The Garrick Club's stated purpose was to "tend to the regeneration of the Drama."

Within the first twenty years of The Savage Club it had become a respectable institution. It also started to change it's membership requirements, adding musicians to the mix.

The Savage Club welcomed a variety of guests from around England and around the World. This included Mark Twain and the 1934 Australian Cricket Team. In 1940, Oswald Mosley founder of the British Union of Fascists arrived as a guest of a member and was asked to leave. The Savage Club is also mentioned in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book The Lost World.

In 1882, King Edward VII, then the Prince of Wales attended a dinner in his honor at The Savage Club. It was the Prince who suggested that a masonic lodge should be formed and associated with the club. In December of 1886 The Savage Club Lodge No. 28 was granted their warrant and the lodge was consecrated in January of 1887. The Savage Club and the lodge are no longer associated with each other. Although the tendency for a lodge member to be involved in one of the areas of art, drama, law, literature, music or science still remains, it is not due to any membership requirement set by the lodge. The Savage Club and the lodge still hold regular joint events with each other.