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Brief History

The BS & UC was founded in 1895 by a group of men who met on September 11 at the offices of the New York Mercury in order to provide "social and intellectual intercourse and good fellowship among men of British education."

The founders:
Orton Bradley Harrow & Oxford
Rev. Dr. Parker Morgan Oxford
Jerome Flannery Catholic Univ., Dublin
H.P. Powell-Rees Cheltenham
Verner de Guise Haileybury & Oxford
Hon. R.M. Stuart-Wortley Wellington
William A.M. Goode Foyle College
Norman S. Walker Rugby

The original name was the Association of British Public Schools & Universities Men in the United States, the present name of the Club being adopted within a short time.

The earliest Year Book in the Club's archives is for 1902/03 with the report of the Hon. Secretary, John R. Shannon of Queens, Canada. The report indicates 'a rapid rate of increase in membership' which stood at 202-members, with an annual fee of $5.00. The report includes the death of Lord Pauncefote, the British Ambassador to Washington; a dinner held on Victoria Day (May 24) which included a toast 'from Cape Town to Cairo'; a dinner held on November 9, the birthday of King Edward VII; an evening at Delmonico's on June 12 to celebrate the successful conclusion of the South African War.

Guests of Honor at the dinner held on November 9, 1903, at Delmonico's included the presidents or representatives of McGill University, Princeton University, the U.S. Navy, St. Andrew's, St. David's and St. George's Societies, New England Society, Canadian Society, Southern Society, the British Ambassador.

The report of 1904 indicates a membership of 223-members, and the recommendation of an 'ad hoc' committee that the Club should acquire a Club House. Subsequently, a letter regarding a Club House was sent to all members but apparently only 78-replies were received!

The annual dinner on November 9, 1906 was attended by 133-persons including the British Ambassador, Sir H. Mortimer Durand, and held at Delmonico's. on April 3,1907, a farewell dinner was given to the outgoing British C.G., Sir Percy Sanderson, whose address pointed out- 'that the BS & UC holds a position in New York which no other Society can fill, inasmuch while in other Societies certain restrictions as to birth and descent exist, in the BS & UC British education alone is the bond which brings us together in social intercourse and good fellowship, in one Society, British subjects from all parts of the Empire and American citizens'.

In 1908 the Annual Report. includes the death of Jerome Flannery, a founder of the Club. It seems strange that at the dinner on November 9 there were present His Excellency Wu Ting-Fang, the Chinese Minister together with Mr. Ho, the Chinese Consular General.

It would be tedious to record membership and dinners held on a year by year basis. From 1905 to 1915 membership seemed to stand at about 260-members with dinners held at Delmonico's, the Arkwright Club, Chemist Club, Athletic Club, Brevoort Hotel, Astor Hotel, etc.

On April 25, 1910, just 2-weeks before the death of King Edward VII on May 6, the Club drank to the King's health for the last time. With the paucacity of tickets for a Memorial Service held on May 20 at Trinity Church by the British Societies, the BS & UC sponsored their own Service on May 22 at St. James' Church. Cables were exchanged with King George V and Queen Alexandria, whose gracious reply is in the Club's archives.

The year 1912 reported the death of a member - Dr. W.J. O'Loughlin, the ship's doctor of the ill-fated Titanic. A Memorial Service for those who died on the Titanic was held in Trinity church on April 23 under the auspices of St. George's.

Following the outbreak of World War I, the Club decided not to hold an Annual Dinner in 1914. Checks for $500 and later for $1,198 were sent to the Prince of Wales National Relief Fund, American Branch with another donation of $4,407 - not inconsiderable sums in those days.

The Year Book of 1916 reports that the dinner on November 9 at Delmnico's included ‘a most stirring address' from Capt. I.H. Beith of the Argyll & Sutherland High- landers-the Ian Hay of 'The First Hundred Thousand'.

Membership in 1920 was 424-members, and the BS & UC moved into its own quarters on the top floor of the old Waldorf Astoria, Fifth Avenue and 34th Street. The facilities were formally opened on October 9 and consisted of a billiard room, card room, reading room and office. Pictures and furniture were donated by members. And it is reported that the first Golf Tournament was held at the Upper Montclair Country Club. Year Books in the 20's were consolidated to cover 2 or 3-years of the Club's activities.

In 1921, membership stood at 539 members. A Golf Tournament was held at the Ardsley Club on September 22, while that summer BS & UC members were made honorary members of the Staten Island Cricket & Tennis Club - the 'well-known and old established center of British sport'. At the annual dinner on November 9, an account was given by Major Vivian Gilbert of his experiences of the Palestine Campaign. In that year, a Billiard Challenge Cup was presented to the Club by H.W.J. Bucknall of Uppingham College, the Cup alas has not been seen for some years.

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