Although the re-launched Eccentric Club has only been in existence for a fairly short time, we have been inundated with post which included many enquiries from (and/or about) the former members of the Eccentric Club in Ryder Street. To our own great surprise, we have managed to help a number of those individuals enquiring about the old club and its members, both in Britain and abroad!

We have also received a great number of congratulations and letters of the expressed support to our endeavours, i.e. the Eccentric Club restoration.

We intend to publish here some of the most interesting pieces of our correspondence as well as the open research enquiries and appeals for any possible information from some members of the public to whom we could not help...

Dear Eccentrics,

My father Melville Preston Troy was a member of the Eccentric Club when it was in Ryder Street. He was an American, who came to England as a Cigar Importer before the first Great War. Here he met and married my mother about 1908. She was a young actress, in a song and dance act with Connie Emerald. I mention this because Connie married Stanley Lupino, and he was also a member of the Eccentric Club.

My father was a partner in a firm of Cigar Importers called Solomon, Troy & Co. until the second World War, when it was decided that shipping space could not be allowed on luxury goods such as cigars! So my father had to give up cigars and trade in cigarettes. As a farewell present, his colleagues, the fellow members of the Eccentric Club, presented him with a wonderful cigar box, carved in wood, and bearing on the lid his favourite characters Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Inside there is inset in the lid a wooden copy of his visiting card!

I preserved it with a photograph of him with his fellow Eccentrics at their annual trip to Colchester at Oyster Time. One of his fellows, and a personal friend, was Herbert Merchant, who is the dominant figure in the photograph. Merchant traded under the name of Peter Jackson, and some time in the 1930s a book called "Peter Jackson, Cigar Merchant" was published by Gilbert Frankau. I do not know whether Frankau or Merchant thought of the name first, but I dare say it is on record somewhere.

Merchant had a son called Anthony, and he and I were the same age and became playmates at Downshire Hill in Hampstead, where he lived; or Kensington Court where I lived. If still alive Tony will be my age - 91 – but although I survived service in the WAAF, it is unlikely that as a man he did also survive the war. So I doubt if he is around to confirm all this, even if he remembered it!

I am enclosing a copy of the photograph taken at Colchester. Merchant is the man pouring the Bubbly; my father is on the far left and appears a mere spectator!

Yours sincerely,
June D. Troy

P.S. Christies were kind enough to give me your new address, as I am not computer literate!


 


"My father was a member of The Eccentric Club in the early seventies. My huge sadness following his death last year prompted me to look up 'Eccentric' on the web. Our house was full of owls of every description! My Dad started the ISL (International Snooker League), with fellow eccentrics - Ray Reardon and Joe Davis. As a child, I have entered the inner sanctum of the club - the snooker room at Ryder St with Joe and my Dad. I was told I was the first girl ever to enter that room! I don't know if that's true, but I loved what The Eccentric Club was for my Dad, how much it meant to him, his devastaion when it folded, it is a part of my childhood.

The fact that it's being reformed is quite amazing to me. I would love to know who started this all off and how you came together, whether any of you are children of the former members or just admirers of the whole ethos of what the Eccentric Club was. Obviously, my experience is but a few years in relation to its history but for me it was very influential.

My father was an amazing character who loved the club with all his heart. My mother reminded me of other members, Louis Scott, Ronnie Carroll (singer in the 50's), so many... We have many photos and even the eccentric silver owl snooker trophy, awarded to my father in the 70's. My mother was very moved when I told her about your efforts... They were married for 46 years, so the year after my Dad's passing to find the Eccentric Club still exists, means an enourmous amount to her."

Rebecca Miller-Cheevers
 

A letter of support and congratulations from Peter Underwood FRSA, Britain's No.1 authority on ghosts, author of 46 books, veteran television broadcaster and internationally acknowledged leading paranormal investigator, member of The Ghost Club, The Savage Club and a number of other prestigious institutions.



"The world's leading ghost hunter." - The Observer



"The Sherlock Holmes of Psychical Research" - Dame Jean Conan Doyle



"Probably knows more about ghosts than any man alive." - Sunday Times



"My father was a member and I once went there for lunch. I remember the clock and also the billiard room, which at the time had paintings of naked women on the walls (allegedly to distract visiting players). My parents always went to the New Year Party at the Club - probably the only time women were allowed in! He also always used a Club diary. Fond memories of a different time and my father. Fascinating to see the club has been revived."

Mr P.W.Stevens

"Family legend always had it that my grandfather Edward Rearden (passed away in the late 1960s) was a steward at the Eccentric Club. It was a winning tip picked up from one of the illustrious members that enabled him to buy outright the rather nice semi that my father grew up in at Streatham SW16...

...and here I am looking at the rather nice gold Longines watch that was passed on to me by my father before he himself died over ten years ago. The engraving on the rear reads: "ECCENTRIC CLUB - A token of appreciation of 50 years faithful service 1900 - 1950 Edward Laurence Rearden"

Mr N.Rearden

"I was a production manager at the BBC when the old Eccentrics Club behind the Ritz was used as a film location in 1986. I found one of the three safes in the building still had a mass of silverware in it and I wanted to make sure the swag wasn't stolen. I wasn't sure whom to contact, so asked the nearby St James' Club... they agreed to take the stuff, so should still have it.... so if you want to retrieve what should belong to your Club, you'll need to contact them. I do remember one silver cup had been presented to Captain Webb... who was the first to swim the Channel"

M.F.


"I wonder whether you can help place an occasion on 12th January 1937 that is advertised in an illustration by John Hassall in the form of a menu.



Wilfred Vincent Brooks is pictured and was a member of the Eccentric Club at this time. It has been suggested that the illustrations behind him may be those of other artists in the London Sketch Club.



Is there a connection? The reverse side is a menu with the logo of 'Entre Nous 1910'. More info can be found here:


http://vincentbrooksnotes.blogspot.com/2008/03/john-hassall-draws-wv-brooks.html"

L.Greaves