The Garrick Club was founded at a meeting in the Committee Room at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on Wednesday 17 August 1831. It was named in honour of the eminent actor David Garrick ,whose acting and management at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the previous century, had by the 1830s come to represent a golden age of British drama. Less than six months later the members had been recruited and a club house found and equipped on King Street, Covent Garden.
Charles Dickens and The Garrick Club.
Charles Dickens appears to have an on-off relationship with the Garrick Club, leaving when external personal disputes between members boiled over and then rejoining once they had calmed down.
He was first elected in January 1837 but resigned within two years, believed to be after he backed his close friend the actor and theatre manager William Charles Macready in a personal quarrel. After rejoining he resigned again in December 1849, although the reasons are unclear.
Dickens rejoined five years later and was invited the chair the committee of the club.
On April 22, 1854 Charles Dickens attended a dinner in honour of William Shakespeare at the Garrick Club, where he gave a speech.
The Garrick Club Affair.
In 1858, Charles Dickens issued a statement to the press about the rumours involving him and two unnamed women. The statement was published in The Times and Household Words. However, Punch magazine, edited by his friend, Mark Lemon, refused, bringing an end to their long friendship. William Makepeace Thackeray also took the side of Catherine and he was also banned from the house. Dickens was so upset that he insisted that his daughters, Mamie Dickens and Kate Dickens, brought an end to their friendship with the children of Lemon and Thackeray.
On 12th June 1858 Edmund Yates published an article in Town Talk supporting Dickens and criticising Thackeray. Thackeray complained to the committee of the Garrick Club that Yates, a fellow member, had spied on him there. Charles Dickens, interceded on Yates’s behalf, but he was expelled from the club, of which he had been a member since he was seventeen. Dickens resigned from the club in protest.