Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Churchill Series - Aug. 12, 2008

(One of a series of weekday posts about the life of Winston S. Churchill.)

Readers Note: London's Carlton Club, of which Churchill was for some years a member, recently voted to admit woman. In "honour" of the club's decision I'm reposting the following post from last August.

I hope the following story makes you smile. While I can’t cite a source confirming Churchill heard it, but I feel sure he did. It’s an old story that’s floated around London for a very long time; and it’s just the kind of story Churchill loved.

The Carlton Club was in his lifetime as it is now one of London’s most exclusive private clubs. It has a strong Conservative Party connections going back to the 19th century. From the club’s website :

Today the Club continues to support the Party in many ways but the hub of the Party is now based in Victoria Street. The Carlton Club remains, however, the Conservative Club. (emphasis Carlton’s)
Well the story goes that during one session of Parliament, a Labour MP from the Midlands took rooms a few miles from Westminster Palace. In nice weather, he’d walk there.

One day as he passed the Carlton Club he had an urgent need to use the bathroom. So in he went.

Afterwards, he freshened up using the club's soaps and towels; and then was on his way.

He took to doing this just about every day.

Soon members noticed. They complained to the club’s governors.

The governors instructed the doorman to tell the Labour member he wasn't welcome to use the club’s bathroom.

So the next day as the MP was about to enter the club the doorman did as instructed.

“I’m sorry, Sir, but the governors of this private club say you can't use their gents room.”

“Really? This is also a club?”

I hope you’re smiling.