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The AthenaeumMore Than Just Another London Club$
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Michael Wheeler

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780300246773

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300246773.001.0001

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‘They have built a perfect palace’

‘They have built a perfect palace’

(p.55) 3 ‘They have built a perfect palace’
The Athenaeum

Michael Wheeler

Yale University Press

This chapter examines why it took the Athenæum so long to build a clubhouse of its own. First, a potential site considered by the Committee in 1824 failed to meet their requirements. Then another site proved to be less attractive than a third option, which in turn remained unavailable until 1826. Planning complications associated with this excellent site on Pall Mall delayed the approval of Decimus Burton's proposed elevations, which later had to be changed as a result of skulduggery outside the club. Negotiations with the owners of properties that stood on the site caused further delays. What is more, all three sites, and an existing clubhouse that was offered for purchase but declined, were located in an area that was being redeveloped as part of the most comprehensive building programme that London had seen since the Great Fire of 1666. In pursuit of its goal, the club's Committee frequently had to negotiate with the Commissioners of His Majesty's Woods, Forests and Revenues. The result of all this was that Athenians could not take possession of their 'perfect palace' until February of 1830.

Keywords:   Athenæum, Athenæum clubhouse, Decimus Burton, building programme, London, Athenians

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