London, Great Britain

The Crockford's Club was famous, proprietary Club located in London, England. Mr. William Crockford was born in the year 1775 and died on May 24, 1844. His biography states that he was the son of a fishmonger, and assumed control of the family business. Since the act of gambling was also inherited from his ancestors Mr. William Crockford came into fortune by winning a sizable amount of money, which constituted his fortune. This win is attributed either to his cunning at the game of cards or to his establishment of a gambling establishment.

He spent the money on the construction of a luxurious gambling establishment at 50 St. James Street. The gambling house was historically opened in the year 1793 and closed its doors in the year 1845. After the closure of the establishment, the structure continued to be used as a clubhouse, at first briefly by the short-lived Naval, Military and Civil Service Club, and then between 1874 and 1976 it was home to the Devonshire Club.

However, to ensure that only the elite, the aristocracy, and even royal personages of London sought pleasure in such extravagant surroundings Mr. William Crockford operated the house exclusively as a private club. Membership was required. The gambling house, with its exclusiveness, quickly and rapidly became a successful undertaking. Many of the aristocracy and upper class members of the European countries sought entry and membership.

     

The game of Hazard was the favorite game played at the club, and very large sums changed hands quickly among the members of the aristocracy, foreign diplomats and even ambassadors of practically all the European countries.

The establishment became also the home of many rumors, conjectures, and political meetings. Rumors abounded that the Duke of Wellington became a member since a membership was the only means, by which he would be able to blackball his son, Lord Douro, should Lord Douro seek election to a certain government post.

The Crockford's Club was an exclusively Gentleman's Club in the city of London, England. Following the closure of the club in the year 1845 the building was leased to the short-lived Naval, Military and Civil Service Club, and then between 1874 and 1976 it was home to the Devonshire Club.

     
     
     
     

New York, New York, United States

The Crockford's Bridge Club was founded by Mr. Ely Culbertson in the year 1932. The establishment was named after the famous Crockford's Club located in London, England, and founded by Mr. William Crockford, and which was viewed by its members as the most exclusive of all gentlemen's clubs.

The Crockford's Bridge Club was a popular bridge club located at 14 East 42nd Street in New York, New York, United States. In order to become a member of this exclusive bridge club the applicant was required to be recommended, whereupon an election was held to determine certain eligibility since membership was only extended to those persons, who were held in high esteem by their peers, colleagues, and society.

Indeed, only the most socially prominent, popular, noticeable, and significant persons were considered for membership. Membership was by application or by recommendation only. The list of members included persons from the theater and stage, from the developing film industry, from the political world, and from the more elite society of the country. Besides offering the gentlemen a midtown asylum from the day-to-day routine the Crockford's Bridge Club was famous for its incomparable offering of dishes prepared by the best chefs and also for its most luxurious appointments of the finest furniture and decorative accessories.

Although the concept was in tune with the elite members of society for the pastime of the game of bridge the Crockford's Bridge Club ceased operation in the year 1938.

     
     
     
     

As time passed there proved to be less and less of a necessity to reserve the game of bridge only to gaming clubs, to which only the wealthy and prominent personalities had access. Since the evolution of the game of bridge became more developed owing to the popularity of the game organizations had to be formed, founded, and operated throughout the United States and Canada. The game became organized in the sense that an authoritative body was necessary to oversee the operation, coordination, and regional and national competitions. The era for the isolated few passed rapidly into the annals of history as the game indeed became practically global. The entry of many countries into the second world war ceased many of the developments and also a few of the disastrous evolving elements, which competed for control with each other.

Mr. Ely Culbertson and Company had to pass the scepter, relinquish control, yield to the masses, and allow the growing authoritative bodies to evolve as a collective. The game of bridge had outgrown its pioneers, its developers, those who indeed had ventured into unknown and unclaimed territory.

 


     
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