The Club was founded, in 1819, 'for gentlemen who had travelled out of the British Isles to a distance of at least five hundred miles from London in a direct line'. Membership was extended to foreign visitors and diplomats posted to London.
The original concept of The Travellers Club by Lord Castlereagh and others dates from the return of peace in Europe following the Napoleonic Wars. They envisaged a club where gentlemen who travelled abroad might meet and offer hospitality to distinguished foreign visitors. Arrangements for the establishment of The Travellers Club were finalised at a meeting in the spring of 1819, attended by distinguished diplomats, travellers and two future Prime Ministers (the Earl of Aberdeen and Viscount Palmerston). The head of Ulysses was adopted as the Club device.
It was first housed at 12 Waterloo Place but soon outgrew the space, moving to 49 Pall Mall. In 1826 money was raised to lease part of the grounds of Carlton House and Charles Barry, who later designed the Reform Club next door and the Houses of Parliament, was appointed as architect.
The Clubhouse is open to members from 7.00am to 1.00am Monday to Friday, excepting Bank Holidays and from 7.00am to 7.00pm Saturday to Sunday. It is closed for ten days at the Christmas/New Year period and for four days at Easter. Summer closure is usually the last three weeks in August, when accommodation only is normally available on weekdays.
The Club holds a stair climbing chair for access from Pall Mall to the ground floor of the Club; alternatively arrangements can be made for those in wheel chairs to be lifted up the front steps. Those members or guests who may wish to enter by either method are asked, if possible, to telephone the Club reception desk 10 to 15 minutes beforehand so that the necessary arrangements can be made.
A disabled lavatory is situated between the first and second floors of the Club and is reached by the lift. The lift continues up to the second floor where the Coffee Room and Library are situated.
Dress Code and Etiquette
Although The Travellers is a gentlemen's club, ladies are welcome as guests. Unfortunately we are not able to welcome children under the age of 14 years.
Smoking is not permitted anywhere in the building. Mobile phones should be turned off when entering the Clubhouse, and may only be used in the phone booth in the lift lobby or in the front hall by reception. Similarly, business papers should not to be displayed in the public rooms; those wishing to conduct business may do so in the main hall, or may hire a meeting room for the purpose.
The Travellers has a formal dress code (jacket and tie, or national dress – no trainer shoes or denim) throughout the building, other than for those staying in the Clubhouse and taking breakfast. Ladies are expected to dress to a similar standard.
There are two categories of Membership, Ordinary and Associate. In order to become a Member, you will need to be proposed and Seconded by a fellow member who has personally known you over three years.