The Aylesbury Club
Good Humour Good Cheer and Good Neighbourhood
The Club was founded over 200 years ago during the reign of George III in 1810, midway between the Battle of Trafalgar (1805) and the Battle of Waterloo (1815). It was formed by a group of Aylesbury land owners and businessmen who decided to meet regularly to enjoy the food and wine of the many hostelry’s that formed the social heart of the town. The founding members included Lord George Grenville, the Reverend Sir George Lee and Colonel Nugent (later Sir George Nugent MP for Aylesbury).
Although records do not exist identifying the hotels and inns that the club frequented at that time, it is known that they met at The White Hart Hotel for the first year of its existence. This inn, was for the first half of the 19th century, one of the most famous inns outside London. It was located next to the Assize Court at the bottom of Market Square and comprised a three gabled building with a gallery running round a courtyard and seems to have been the social and business centre of the town.
Its most famous landlord was Mr J. K. Fowler, who regularly entertained local dignitaries including Disraeli, the Rothchilds, the Verneys and Lord Lonsdale at the hotel.
The annual club subscription at its beginning was two guineas to pay for wine and each dinner cost 7/6d.
Interestingly monthly meetings only took place between November and April on the Friday nearest the full moon and dinner was served at 4.00pm; no doubt to facilitate the members homeward journey as street lighting was yet to be invented.
Apparently the dining sometimes got out of hand as it is reported that on the 21st January 1832 an inquest was held in respect of one Robert Brazil, who died as a result of choking on stewed beef which he had been eating voraciously at Judkins Bakehouse.
The Aylesbury Club continued its existence until about 1950 when it seems to have faded away. However, in 1973 Maurice Buckingham the then Mayor of Aylesbury, resurrected the club with the same laudable objectives, “Good humour, good cheer and good neighbourhood” and it is now as strong as ever, although members are now perhaps more temperate.
The Club has no written constitution and exists purely as a Dining Club with no political affiliation or charitable function, and with the intention that it should hold a Dinner each year to celebrate the bird which has made Aylesbury famous, the Aylesbury Duck. (See Gallery/Archive/Duck Dinner Menus) and (See History/The Aylesbury Duck)
In 1980, the then President Christopher Clarke introduced the Aylesbury Club brandy and plum sauce.
(See Gallery/Archive/Aylesbury Duck Sauce)
In 2011, the then President Ray Ghent found and Club members were delighted to contribute towards the cost of purchasing a silver goblet awarded to one John Weston Esq on Jan 21st 1857 for winning the best Aylesbury Duck category at the Preston & North Lancashire Poultry Show.
(See Gallery/Archive/The Silver Goblet)