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History

Built in 1763, Lansdowne House became a social club in 1935. Unlike other clubs in London, The Lansdowne Club has admitted both men and women with equal status since its doors first opened. Today, it is one of the most exclusive and traditional private Members' Clubs in London.

18 Century

1761

John Stuart, third Earl of Bute, buys the empty site in Berkeley Square and commissions British architect Robert Adam to design a house.

1762-63

Lord Bute serves as the King’s chief minister.

1765

William Petty Fitzmaurice, second Earl of Shelburne, buys the unfinished property from Lord Bute, agreeing to keep to Robert Adam’s original designs.

1766

Lord Shelburne becomes Secretary of State for the Southern Department, responsible for American affairs.

1768

Lord Shelburne and his family move into the unfinished house. He then resigns as Secretary of State in October.

 
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1771

After the death of his first wife, Lord Shelburne goes to Italy and starts his collection of paintings and antique statues.

1775

Outbreak of American War of Independence. Robert Adam’s First Drawing Room is completed.

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1782

Lord Shelburne negotiates the Treaty of Paris with America. Tradition holds that he drafted the treaty in what is now the Round Room Cocktail Bar at The Lansdowne Club. His friend, Benjamin Franklin, is the chief American signatory.

1784

Lord Shelburne is appointed first Marquess of Lansdowne. The house becomes known as Lansdowne House.

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1788

English architect George Dance the Younger is commissioned to redesign Robert Adam’s library and other rooms.

19 Century

1805

John Henry Petty, the second Marquess of Lansdowne inherits the title and sells the bulk of his father’s art collection.

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1809

Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice, the third Marquess of Lansdowne succeeds. He re-establishes the Lansdowne Art Collection.

1816-19

Further alterations to Robert Adam’s library are carried out by Robert Smirke the Younger.

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1830s-'50s

Visitors to Lansdowne House include Charles Dickens, Lord Byron’s biographer Thomas Moore, and Lord Macaulay.

1834-52

After a fire destroys the Houses of Parliament, the Dining Room at Lansdowne House is used for meetings of the Privy Council until the Palace of Westminster is built.

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1847-51

The third Marquess employs Matthew Arnold as his secretary.

1863

Henry Thomas Perry-Fitzmaurice, the fourth Marquess of Lansdowne succeeds.

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1866

Henry Charles Keith Petty-Fitzmaurice, the fifth Marquess of Lansdowne succeeds.

1870s

A sculpture gallery in the Gothic style is designed by Anglo-Irish architect Thomas Henry Wyatt.

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1888-94

The fifth Marquess holds office as Viceroy of India.

20 Century

1902-04

As Foreign Secretary, the fifth Marquess negotiates the Anglo-Japanese Treaty and the Entente Cordiale.

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1914-18

Lansdowne House is used as a first aid station throughout the World War I.

1921

The last grand family party at Lansdowne House is held for the wedding of Lady Dorothy Cavendish to Harold Macmillan. Following this, the fifth Marquess rents the house to Gordon Selfridge, the American owner of Selfridges department store.

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1927

Henry William Edmund Petty-Fitzmaurice, the sixth Marquess of Lansdowne succeeds.

1929

An exhibition of English decorative art is held at Lansdowne House. The sixth Marquess then sells the house to the American architect and property developer, Benson Greenall. Greenall is refused planning permission to redevelop Lansdowne House into a fifteen-storey hotel.

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1930

Greenall sells Lansdowne House to the Bruton Club.

1931

Lansdowne House is radically restructured. Robert Adam’s fa├žade is cut back forty feet. The First Drawing Room and Great Eating Room are dismantled and shipped to America. 

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1934

The Bruton Club sells the freehold to London Assurance.

1935

The Lansdowne Club officially opens 1 May. Plans to extend Curzon Street are shelved. The cul-de-sac outside the Club is named Fitzmaurice Place.

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1939

Outbreak of World War II. The Club pool is closed for the duration.

1943

Robert Adam’s First Drawing Room is reassembled for permanent display at the Museum of Art in Philadelphia.

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1954

Robert Adam’s Great Eating Room is reassembled as the Lansdowne Dining Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

1964-5

Westminster Council builds the extension of Curzon Street, sweeping away The Lansdowne Club's steps and adjusting the split levels.

 
 

1998

The Masterplan to upgrade the Club's facilities commences.

21 Century

2001

Refurbishment of the Fencing Salle is completed.

 
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2012

Refurbishment of the Sports Area is completed with a new exercise studio and steam room.

 

2020

The Club closes due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

 

2021

The Club reopens in April following the Covid-19 pandemic.

2023

Refurbishment of the Club’s rooms and suites commences. The Club welcomes resident cats Harry and Rose.