Garrick Club throws out member who called for women to be admitted

Garrick Club throws out member who called for women to be admitted

16 Feb    Finance News, News

The Garrick Club, renowned for its longstanding all-male membership policy, has ousted a member who advocated for the inclusion of women.

Colin Brough, a former theatre producer and a member for four decades, faced expulsion on grounds of “conduct unbecoming of a gentleman” after he vocally campaigned for the admission of women, reportedly sending a series of impassioned emails to fellow members.

Describing the club’s management as “Putin-style” and accusing the committee of obstructing the desire of a majority of members to welcome women, Brough found himself summoned to a meeting with the Garrick’s chairman on February 1, where he was formally removed from membership.

Situated in central London, the 193-year-old club boasts approximately 1,300 members, including notable figures such as Michael Gove, Brian Cox, and Stephen Fry. It stands as one of the few remaining private members’ clubs in the heart of London upholding a men-only policy. In contrast, Pratt’s recently announced its decision to admit women for the first time in its 166-year history, with the Athenaeum opening its doors to women in 2002 and the Oxford and Cambridge in 1996.

Under the Equality Act 2010, clubs retain the prerogative to maintain single-sex membership, thus exempting them from the Human Rights Act by virtue of their private status.

Calls for the Garrick to revise its single-sex policy intensified following the denial of membership to Joanna Lumley in 2011. This contentious issue has sparked parliamentary debates and garnered advocacy efforts, notably by Emily Bendell, founder and CEO of a lingerie company. Bendell urged members to reconsider their stance, highlighting that it has been eight years since a majority of 50.5% voted in favour of admitting female members, falling short of the required two-thirds majority to effect rule changes.

See also  Commercial vehicle output records best May since 2008

Approximately 12 years ago, legal expert Michael Beloff KC concluded in a comprehensive document that the club’s rules, while not explicitly barring women, presented practical barriers to their admission. However, in a noteworthy reversal, Beloff revised his opinion last year upon discovering a 1925 law affirming the interchangeability of “he” and “she” in contracts.

Beloff’s updated legal opinion asserted that there was now a compelling argument that the Law of Property Act 1925 necessitates interpreting “he” to include “she”. Consequently, he contended that there was no legal impediment to proposing a woman for membership, provided she secures requisite support under the club’s rules.

Moreover, Beloff cautioned that the club risked facing costly litigation if it persisted in excluding women.

Established by Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex and brother of George IV, the Garrick Club boasts a lengthy waiting list of approximately ten years. While subscription fees remain undisclosed, estimates peg them between £1,000 and £1,500. Named in honour of the 18th-century actor David Garrick, the club has boasted illustrious members including AA Milne, Kingsley Amis, and Benedict Cumberbatch.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *