On tour with BT Sport
Club Mirror recently undertook a mini tour of several clubs in West and Central London alongside BT Sport, starting in the leafy suburbs of Roehampton and ending in the bustling centre of Theatreland. The aim? To illustrate the diversity of the Members’ Club sector.
The Roehampton Club Roehampton Lane, London, SW15 5LR
Set on a 100-acre site in Roehampton, West London, this historic club was founded in 1901. Boasting magnificent sporting and leisure facilities, including an 18-hole golf course, 28 tennis courts, five squash courts (including a doubles court), indoor and outdoor swimming pools, gym, fitness studio and beauty clinic, the club has a family-friendly ethos and provide a huge range of activities and services for its 5,000 members. The club, which was our ‘Sports Club of the Year’ in 2017, has just completed a £4 million project which saw the 20-metre outdoor pool upgraded to allow swimming all year round as well as a state-of-the-art redesign of the health club and studios. As you’d expect, there is also a thriving social dimension to the club focused around the Club Cafe, Members Bar and Juice Bar.
Richmond Football Club The Athletic Ground, Richmond, TW9 2SF
The second oldest rugby club in England, Richmond Football Club was founded in 1861, and was one of the eight founder clubs of the Rugby Football Union in 1871. Its men’s 1st XV compete in the Greene King IPA Championship, the second tier of rugby in England, while the women’s 1st XV play in the Tyrell’s Premier 15, the women’s top-flight league. But it is not just about the elite level competition at the club and it prides itself on offering top rugby coaching for all levels, ages and genders. It currently runs five senior men’s XVS, one Students/U21 XV, one Colts XV, one Veterans XV, three Women’s XVs and Youth and Mini rugby for around 600 boys and girls each weekend. Off the field, the club has a full social programme designed to activate support from the local community.
The Union Jack Club Sandell Street, Lambeth, London, SE1 8UJ
Just a stone’s throw away from the bustle of Waterloo Station in the middle of London, the Union Jack Club is a real oasis of calm and relaxation for its members. It is also one of the world’s biggest members’ clubs, both in terms of physical space and membership. All serving Non-Commissioned Members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces automatically becoming members of the club while veteran Forces members who served two years or more below commissioned rank can also become a member for £20 a year. The club has over 263 rooms for accommodation (including apartments which can sleep up to six people), a restaurant, bar (serving Union Jack Ale, a cask ale exclusively brewed for the club), coffee shop, games room, library and several function rooms. The original club was officially opened in 1907 by King Edward VII but was rebuilt in the 1970s with the club’s Patron-in-Chief, Queen Elizabeth II, cutting the ribbon on the vast new club premises in 1976.
The BBC Club Wogan House, Great Portland Street, London, W1A 1AA
At the heart of the BBC radio and television operation in London’s West End, the BBC Club has gone through many changes in recent years but continues to offer a huge amount to its members. Despite the fact that BBC staff numbers have shrunk overall, the membership of the club continues to rise with the club actively looking to offer incentives for BBC employees on short contracts to join. The club offers high-quality, good value dining options which change daily for its members as well as a place to socialise and have a drink after work. The club stages regular social events, including live music, comedy, sailing, flying lessons and also offers a number of membership benefits through its ‘Virtual Club’ including discounts to entertainment venues in the areas around the BBC’s key hubs throughout the UK.
The Phoenix Artist Club 1 Phoenix Street, London, WC2H 8BU
Situated beneath the Phoenix Theatre in London’s West End, the Phoenix Arts Club – Club Mirror’s 2017 King of Clubs –is steeped in the lore of ‘theatre land’ with posters of past productions covering the walls of this basement club. It is a favoured destination for actors seeking a late-night drink (the bar is open until 2.30am Monday-Saturday and 1.30am on Sundays) following stage appearances and many household names are regulars at the bar. Membership is £100 a year for Equity, BECTU and MU members, students and those working in the creative industries and there are many benefits to joining up, including the chance to get work done in the club’s ‘Creative Hub’ during office hours, Monday to Friday, with free coffee and broadcast quality wi-fi available. In addition, members have access to events held at the club, including cabaret, comedy and open mic nights. The club has also earned rave reviews for its evening menu options provided by renowned Head Chef Robert Kusy.