(One of a series of weekday posts on the life of Winston S. Churchill.)
In 1911 Churchill, along with his closest friend, F. E. Smith, founded The Other Club.
The club’s by-laws stated its purpose: “To dine.” Every two weeks when Parliament was in session, the club met for a convivial evening.
Its membership usually numbered about 50 and included men of accomplishment from various professions and political persuasions. What they had to have in common was a willingness to set differences aside for the evening and enjoy each other's company.
After Churchill’s death in 1965, the club commissioned Colin Coote to write its history. His book, The Other Club, is now out of print. Here are some “snatches” from it:
A story passed around at the club concerned co-founder Smith, at the time a barrister. A judge had recently told Smith he was “offensive.”People sometimes ask why Churchill and Smith decided to name the club, The Other Club. Because they were already members of what they considered England’s finest club, Parliament.
"As a matter of fact, we both are,” Smith replied. “The difference is that I'm trying to be and you can't help it"
During WW II brandy was in very short supply. It seems one evening none could at first be found. Then Coote tells us fortune struck: "After considerable [searching] an excellent 1875, a passable 1904, and an undated concoction with a kick like a mule [were found]. Churchill unhesitatingly chose the mule."
Coote, who was himself a club member, reports: "The only candidate I recall being repulsed was Sir Samuel Hoare, who shared with Sir John Simon an extraordinary capacity for getting himself disliked, coupled with a fervent desire to get himself beloved. But he probably did not know that he had been a candidate."
I hope you're back on Monday.