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The Calcutta Cup

All You Need to Know About the Prestigious Sporting Event

The Calcutta Cup is a historic trophy given to the winning team in the much anticipated rugby showdown between England and Scotland. The cup itself is of exquisite Indian workmanship, adorned with an elephant on top and three king cobras on the sides.

Calcutta Cup

As for the prestigious event, it is by far the oldest among several competitions under the annual Six Nations Championship, which is also known as the RBS 6 Nations since it includes England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Italy and France.

The individual competitions include the Centenary Quaich, the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy, the Millennium Trophy, the Doddie Weir Cup and the Auld Alliance Trophy.

The Six Nations Championships came into being in 1883 and was originally known as the Home Nations Championships, when England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales battled for the crown. Trophies have been awarded more recently for individual competitions including the Millennium Trophy which is presented to the winner of the match between England and Ireland; the Centenary Quaich which is presented to the winner of the match between Scotland and Ireland; and the Giuseppe Garibaldi Trophy which is presented to the winner of the match between Italy and France. Note, however, that all of the Six Nations trophies are pre-dated by the Calcutta Cup.

Brief History

It all started with a game of rugby football on Christmas Day of 1872. Held in the city of Calcutta, the game was between England and Scotland, with 20 players on each team. It was a resounding success so another match was scheduled just a week later. Rugby enthusiasts in the city wanted to form their own team and the two games became the agents that paved the way for the creation of the Calcutta (Rugby) Football Club in 1873.

The following year, the Calcutta Club decided to join the Rugby Football Union. In spite of the fact that the Indian climate was not really conducive for playing rugby, the club flourished considerably during its first year. Unfortunately, a local British army regiment was pulled out from India and the free bar at the club was cancelled. Both led to a decline in membership and the public interest in rugby waned.

Other sporting events like cricket, polo and tennis, which were better suited to the climate, made progress and eventually took the limelight. Members of the Calcutta Club opted to disband but decided to perpetuate the club’s name. At that time, the club had bank funds and back then they were in the form of silver rupees. The members withdrew all 270 silver rupees from their account and had the coins melted to be made into a cup that they handed over to the Rugby Football Union (RFU) in England in 1878. The gesture came with the condition that the cup must be competed for annually, and that it was “the best means of doing some lasting good for the cause of Rugby Football.”

The Cup

As previously mentioned, the Calcutta Cup is of Indian workmanship. It is 18 inches (45 cm) high, with the body having three king cobras finely engraved to serve as handles. The convex lid features an Indian elephant which is said to have been copied from the Viceroy’s personal stock. Also affixed to the base are plates that indicate the date of each game played, along with the name of the winning nation and the names of the two team captains.

Interestingly, there is a controversy in the recording of the winning nation on the wooden base. The Calcutta Cup was first competed for in 1879, but the inscription reveals records going way back to the first international which was held in 1871. The original trophy is now in a very fragile condition, following decades of mistreatment and poor handling. It is not even strong enough to go on tours or be transported to official sporting events.

When England won the first ever Calcutta Cup, a showcase was purposely built and the trophy was displayed to the public in the Museum of Rugby in the affluent suburban town of Twickenham. This has become the practice whenever England wins the match. The cup is displayed at the museum for public viewing. Both England and Scotland own full size replicas of the iconic cup. While the original was meticulously handmade by Indian artisans, the replicas were crafted using modern technology. These replicas are the ones used during presentations in order to preserve the original trophy.

There was once a request from the Calcutta Club that the cup be used as the counterpart to the FA Cup of football. In spite of the request, the Rugby Football Union declined to convert the prestigious Cup into a knock-out tournament for English club sides. The RFU explained that ‘competitiveness’ was not in accordance with amateur spirit and that it prefers to keep the matches at international level in order to preserve the ‘gentlemanly’ nature of the sport. It then decided that a match must be held annually between Scotland and England, and the winning team gets to keep the cup for that year.

During this period, Ireland actually had an international team but it wasn’t as good as those of Scotland and England. In eight international matches that the Irish team played during the 1870’s, it did not score a single point.

The first ever Calcutta Cup match was held at the Raeburn Palace on March 10,1879. It was an epic match that ended in a 3-3 draw, with England scoring a goal and Scotland a drop goal. The next year on February 28, 1880 the match was played in Manchester. England emerged victorious after outlasting Scotland two goals to one. Since then the matches continued yearly except on two periods due to World War I (1915–1919) and World War II (1940–1946).

In 2004, the rugby governing bodies of the two nations – the Scottish Rugby Union and the Rugby Football Union (England), considered adding a second Calcutta Cup each year and it would be outside the Six Nations. In the original plan, the second fixture will be hosted by the visiting country in the Six Nations fixture during the same year. According to the plan, one country will have to win both matches in order to take the Cup from its current holder. However, the idea was not well received and the plan was eventually scrapped.

To date, a total of 126 Calcutta Cup matches have been played. The playing field alternates between Twickenham Stadium in London (during odd years), and Murrayfield Stadium in Edinburgh (during even years).

The Calcutta Cup – Bashed and Misshapen

The Calcutta Cup was badly damaged in 1988 due to the antics of drunken players, including Scotland flanker John Jeffrey (a.k.a. “The Great White Shark”) and England eightman Dean Richards. The mishap took place after the England-Scotland match at Murrayfield. Apparently, the group played football with the cup along Princess Street, a major thoroughfare in Edindburgh. Because of the infamous incident, Jeffrey was banned from the Rugby Football Union for six months, while Richards was handed a one-match sentence.

More than two decades after the incident, Jeffrey disclosed that the 100-year-old trophy was not kicked along Princes Street, as was initially reported. He said it was merely dropped after they used it as a makeshift rugby ball. He added that they went to a couple of hostelries in central Edinburgh and the Calcutta Cup got bashed during that time.

Current Records

Since the first game of the Calcutta Cup in 1879, England has won 54 percent of the 118 games played and Scotland 39 percent. The Cup has been tied 16 times, representing 13 percent of the total number of games played.

Calcutta Cup Scotland

The highest number of points scored by a player is currently held by Johnny Wilkinson. As a fly-half, he scored 27 points in 2007 when he had 1 try, 1 drop goal, 2 conversions and 5 penalties.  Wilkinson also holds the distinction as England’s highest scoring international rugby union player with 1,179 points.

The previous record was 24 points by Christopher Robert Andrew. Nicknamed ‘Squeaky’, Robert is England’s fourth highest scoring international rugby union player, with 396 points.

Other Calcutta Cups

The Calcutta Cricket and Football Club created another rugby section in 1884. Six years later, it formed an inter club trophy known as the Calcutta Rugby Union Challenge Cup, which was later named the Calcutta Cup. The trophy is now kept by the Jungle Crows who defeated the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club (CC&FC). The Calcutta Cricket and Football Club Panthers won the second division title.

The original and the oldest Calcutta Cup is a silver trophy that is played for annually by distinguished members of the Royal Blackheath Golf Club. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club gave the trophy as a gift in response to a medal presented by Blackheath. The cup is made from melted silver rupees, supposedly from the same batch of silver rupees as the Rugby Union Cup that is annually played for by Scotland and England.

The Cup was brought to London in 1875 and it was initially played for three years before the first Calcutta Cup match between Scotland and England. The cup under the possession of the Royal Blackheath Golf Club only has two handles unlike the Calcutta Cup with three. A lot of people are not aware of this and it is only recently that sporting historians showed appreciation for the history of the original Calcutta Cup.

The members of the Royal Blackheath Golf Club had close ties with the Blackheath Football Club (Rugby) which was a very popular organization during the early years of the Rugby Football Union. During the 1870s, members from both clubs served in India. This link is the most plausible explanation for the creation of a similar cup by the Calcutta Rugby Club a couple of years later and ultimately becoming the world renowned Calcutta Cup.

Five Epic Calcutta Cup Matches

1938 (England 16-21 Scotland)

England was pummeled 26-6, after handling over a try, captain John Southern Spencer fumbled near his line, allowing John Frame to score. The five-try rout was Scotland’s largest margin of victory against England since 1905. It capped an exhilarating week for Scottish rugby. Just a few days earlier the team won the Calcutta Cup for the first time in 33 years. They notched the win at Twickenham and they did it in epic fashion as legendary Peter Brown converted the last minute try of Chris Rea to outlast the old rival by a solitary point, 16-15. Brown captained the Scottish team to three wins over England and his 67 points in international competitions made him Scotland’s all-time highest scoring forward.

Scotland’s victory at HQ in 1938 is regarded as one of the classic blowouts. It wasn’t because the winning margin (21-16) was something to brag about, but the team ran in five tries while England only had one. Back then, tries were only awarded 3 points, so the Scots would have had a more resounding victory if they converted all their scores. They failed to capitalize on all their conversions, though they cannot be blamed too much because the game was played amidst high winds and mist. Nonetheless, kicker Wilf Crawford managed to belt over two penalties, including one from more than 50 yards.

Scotland’s best player during that game was Wilson Shaw. He was the one who masterfully set up the match’s first try with a kick to the corner. He also scored later in the first half then capped his spectacular play with a flounce through multiple defenders late in the game.

After that match, Scotland only recorded two wins at Twickers: 16-15 in 1971, and a 22-12 Roy Laidlaw inspired victory in 1983.

1988 (Scotland 6–9 England)

A drop goal was scored by Rob Andrew, while Jon Webb and Gavin Hastings had two penalties each, one of the latter’s 50 meter match winner. That’s it. Nothing much to say about the game, what’s epic was what transpired at the after-match banquet.

The English team showed up late for dinner and found that the Scots had consumed all the free whisky. Predictably enough, a food and booze fight broke out. England’s Dean Richards and Scotland’s John Jeffrey filled the Calcutta Cup with champagne and poured the contents into the face of Brian Moore. The two then hurtled out of the hotel and through the heart of Old Town.

After an evening of flaunting their passing and kicking skills along the cobbled thoroughfares, the cup and both players were disheveled the morning after. It was the night when the cup was damaged as was mentioned in the preceding section. A jeweler in Edinburgh tried to knock the trophy back into shape but signs of the buffoonery appear to have been etched for good.

March 17, 1990 in Murrayfield (Scotland 13-7 England)

This was a classic in every sense of the word. The Five Nations, Triple Crown, Grand Slam and the Calcutta Cup were all at stake in this final match of the championship. It was essentially a winner takes all affair. Both teams played the game with a chance to win the grand slam.

The Scottish team was widely regarded as the underdogs as they squared off against the English team that made it all the way to the World Cup finals the next year. England was the bookmaker’s bet at 3-1. This was largely due to Scotland’s less than stellar performance against Ireland and Wales. Judging from those matches, the Scots are due for another severe drubbing.

But right from the start when Scottish team captain David Michael Barclay Sole led his squad out into the field with a now popular walk, the air was filled with a feeling that something special was about to unfold.  The energy of the crowd fuelled the home team and Craig Minto Chalmers gave them a 6-0 lead after kicking two early penalties.

Outside centre Jeremy Clayton Guscott scored a try and narrowed the gap to 6-4, back in the days when a try was awarded 4 points. It was a bit windy that day and fullback Simon Hodgkinson was hesitant to trust his boot in such difficult kicking conditions. This prompted captain Will Carling to run penalties – a decision that the Scots perceived as arrogant. From there, it was all downhill for the English team.

Scotland full-back Andrew Gavin Hastings had a kick through that allowed Anthony George Stranger to burst over for the try, raising their lead to 13-4 during the early stage of the second half. Hodgkinson incurred a penalty which pulled back the score to 13-7. However, that was all she wrote for England. Carling, Richard Hill, and Rory Underwood were badly beaten by John Jeffrey, Scott Hastings and Finlay Calder. The Scottish team was just too determined to earn its first Grand Slam since 1984.

March 22, 2003 (England 40-9 Scotland)

The World Cup winning side of England was spectacular in all facets of the game during the 2003 season. The team was formidable and included the likes of Lawrence Dallagio, Martin Johnson and Richard Hill. The team’s back division was also solid with Johnny Wilkinson and Matt Dawson orchestrating play.

With the French team bagging the Grand Slam in 2002, and England not winning any since 1995, Sir Clive Ronald Woodward’s players imposed on themselves the challenge of making it a ‘World Cup’ year. 

Multiple tries by Jason Thorpe Robinson, in addition to one a piece from Ben Christopher Cohen and Owen Joshua Lewsey, proved pivotal in a prolific day for the back three of England. The defense of the English team was unforgiving through the entire game and the lone bright spot points-wise for the Scottish team was three penalties courtesy of Chris Paterson.

Johnny Wilkinson had an impeccable day with the boot as he kicked all his goals, adding 18 points to England’s tally. The game was physical, but Richard Hill also brought his A-game and played tirelessly for his team.

After the match, coach Ian Robert McGeehand thought that the score line was not a fair reflection of how the game really went. He said they committed crucial blunders, England had superb strike players, and Johnny Wilkinson didn’t miss a lot of kicks. However, he added that there were many commendable things about the way they played and the opposing team had to work extremely hard to bag the win.

England went on to book their Six Nations Grand Slam against Ireland, which they decisively won in Dublin to the tune of 42-6.

April 2, 2000 in Murrayfield (Scotland 19-13 England)

It was in this year when Italy was included in the Five Nations to form the Six Nations (Rugby) Championship. As historic as it was, the tournament was a forgettable one for Scotland, as its team lost all four of its matches, including a humbling 34-20 thrashing from the Italians in Rome.

Meanwhile, England was unbeaten coming into its final game. Apart from a close win over the French team, they had commanding victories over the other three nations.

Scotland had not defeated England in a decade, the last being the Grand Slam winning victory in 1990. April 2, 2000 wasn’t a good day to play rugby as the conditions in Murrayfield were treacherous. The pitch was waterlogged, the game was physical and the collisions were brutal.

Scotland fly-half Duncan Hodge had a huge game as he scored 19 points, including four penalties, a try and a conversion. His stellar play was underpinned by his teammates as they denied Sir Clive Woodward’s team a Grand Slam.   Two penalties by Johnny Wilkinson and a converted try by Lawrence Dallagio went for naught as England lost 19-13. The Scottish team did a lap of honour to the delight of thousands of elated supporters.

September 17, 20190 commentsRead More

Five Reasons Why The Caledonian Club is one of the best private members clubs London

The private members’ clubs of London are famed throughout the world for their inimitable sense of style, sophistication, and discretion, and they combine a genuine sense of history and heritage with all the delights of contemporary social and professional life. The Caledonian Club, situated in the heart of fashionable Belgravia, is no exception; this elegant London private members’ club has been a sought-after hub of relaxation, entertainment, and hospitality for decades, and continues to be a firm favourite with those looking to experience the very utmost in all the capital has to offer.

With its Scottish charm, period furnishings, wide range of private rooms for hire, and bustling array of parties, events, and functions (not to mention the stunning array of Scotch Single Malt whiskies on offer…), the Caledonian Club has rightfully earned its place at the top of the list of London’s best private members’ clubs. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of its esteemed and growing list of members, the hard work of its talented in-house team, and the century of history at its core, the Caledonian Club remains a real gem for those seeking genuine Scottish hospitality and a truly exclusive atmosphere. Let’s take a closer look at just what it is that makes this club so very special!

A Sense of History and Heritage

While the beautiful and historic clubhouse of the Caledonian Club opened at its current premises on Halkin Street, Belgravia, in 1946, the origins of the club itself stretch back to 1891. Founded as a discrete, welcoming, and representative club for Scots living in London, it quickly gained prominence as a central hub for the celebration of Scottish culture, music, food, drink, and tradition. For over a hundred years, the Caledonian Club has remained as a jewel in the crown of Belgravia. Today, it continues to provide a haven for those seeking to get in touch with their roots, share the memories, flavours, and hospitality of their homeland, and meet like-minded members with whom to enjoy a dram of whisky, some hearty Scottish dishes, and plenty of stimulating conversation.

While the Caledonian Club has no shortage of reasons why it is one of London’s best members’ clubs, it is undoubtedly this sense of heritage and lineage that makes it stand head and shoulders above the rest. Firstly, one only has to take in the gloriously opulent building itself – the clubhouse on Halkin Street was actually the last Belgravia mansion house of its kind to be built, and the club retains every iota of its original charm and elegance. On top of this, every room at the Caledonian Club offers a plethora of delights for the senses; it is bedecked in original period details, stylish antique furnishings, and an aura of authentic old world charm which simply cannot be beaten. As far as London members’ clubs go, the Caledonian Club most certainly ticks all the right boxes when it comes to comfort, style, and sophistication, and those looking for a truly memorable experience are sure to not be disappointed.

A Stylish and Elegant Location

When it comes to beautiful and iconic London neighbourhoods, visitors to the capital have plenty to choose from. However, few could argue against that fact that Belgravia – with its distinctive townhouses and mansions, leafy boulevards, quirky and independent spirit, and elegant community gardens – is by far the most enviable and attractive of them all.

The Caledonian Club has been at the heart of Belgravia society for over half a century, and its members take a huge amount of pleasure in enjoying all that Belgravia has to offer. Simply walking up to the entrance of this private London members’ club is a pleasure in itself, and the Caledonian Club’s iconic location and ease of access is just another reason why it is undeniably one of the city’s most beloved places to host meetings, network, or just relax.

The Utmost in Scottish Hospitality

No private members’ club in London would be complete without a wide range of tempting food and drinks options, capable of tantalising the taste buds of its esteemed clientele. In this regard, the Caledonian Club never fails to go above and beyond the call of duty, and the dinner events, catering options, and beautifully-stocked bar and wine cellar of this Scottish members’ club is rightly regarded as among the finest there is.

Whether you’re on the lookout for Scotch whisky tasting events, a Burns’ Night supper with all the trimmings, beautifully presented corporate lunches, or flavoursome dinners among friends and business partners, the Caledonian Club always goes the extra mile in order to delight and fascinate. It goes without saying that the range of traditional spirits on offer is bound to impress even the most sophisticated of whisky palates, and there are plenty of other delicious options to uncover and explore at the stunningly furnished bar within this elegant clubhouse. On top of all this, the talented chef in the Caledonian Club kitchen is committed to showcasing and highlighting the very finest Scottish ingredients, and offers both authentic favourites alongside new interpretations of the classics.

Naturally, none of the above would count for much were it not for the dedication of the Club team ensuring that every event and every dinner service goes without a hitch, or that every member enjoys each moment of their Caledonian Club experience. The club’s commitment to quality, hospitality, and an authentic Scottish welcome is what its reputation has been built upon, and this is a cornerstone of the Caledonian Club which has made it one of London’s best members’ clubs.

Opportunities to Impress and Entertain

From corporate dinners to business meetings, and from conferences, family events, weddings, parties, to intimate dates, the Caledonian Club is the kind of place where you can really make a bold and lasting impression. Only the very best members’ clubs in London guarantee a high level of versatility and flexibility when it comes to private events and room hire, and the Caledonian Club takes great pride in being a venue fit for the finest functions.

Old Glenalmond Club London dinner. Held Thursday 3 December 2014 at The Caledonian Club, London… Glenalmond College is a co-educational independent boarding school in Scotland. © photograph by David Sandison +44 7710 576 445 +44 208 979 6745

Thanks to the incredible array of rooms, function spaces, and private dining options on offer, there’s something for everyone and every event at the Caledonian Club. Whether you’re looking for large-scale, impressive, and grandiose rooms in which to throw a sizeable party, or something altogether smaller, more private, and discrete, this Scottish members’ club has something utterly memorable and unique to suit your needs and requirements. Thanks to the plush, elegant, and authentic period furnishings throughout (alongside all the mod cons you could wish for), the opportunities for impressing and entertaining guests at the Caledonian Club are second to none.

A Vibrant Calendar of Events

Lastly, but by no means least, it’s well worth considering the fact that the Caledonian Club truly excels when it comes to events, entertainment, society dinners, and a massive range of superb options for members looking for a good time. At the Caledonian Club, members (along with their family and esteemed guests) are able to enjoy showcases of traditional Scottish music and dance, contemporary entertainers, a fantastic roster of speakers and presentations, and many more events besides. In fact, it’s hard to find another members’ club in London with quite such a busy events calendar, or so many things to see, do, or get involved with!In many ways, this dedication to ensuring members are entertained, well looked-after, and provided with a wonderful range of things to see, do, and experience encapsulates neatly why the Caledonian Club deserves its place at the top of the list of London’s best members’ clubs. After all, members’ clubs aren’t merely places to end up after a night on the town, or just places to hold meetings or rendezvous with friends before heading elsewhere; they’re places in which to revel in being part of a community, encounter new experiences, and expand your horizons. In this sense, as well as in many others, the Caledonian Club truly stands comfortably above and beyond the rest.

August 12, 20190 commentsRead More

Venue Hire London: The Caledonian Club

Elegant, sophisticated, and welcoming, the Caledonian Club has built up a reputation for being one of London’s finest and most sought-after venues for hire. This beautiful Scottish members club offers its clients and guests an atmosphere of true grandiosity, coupled with a sense of homeliness and old world charm. Together, this makes venue hire at The Caledonian Club a truly exclusive and memorable experience, making it a venue which simply cannot be overlooked. With its gorgeously decorated function rooms and social spaces, this stunning venue for hire in London is bound to make a powerful and lasting impression!

Situated in the heart of Belgravia – one of London’s most stylish and luxurious neighbourhoods – the Caledonian Club is a venue for hire which never fails to go above and beyond expectations, delivering perfection and breathtaking surprises at every turn. Indeed, with its Scottish and period decor, fabulous location, and superb team of event professionals, it’s a splendid setting for all manner of events, ranging from receptions to birthdays, business meetings, weddings, workshops, and much more besides.

Let’s take a closer look at the unique features offered by The Caledonian Club as a venue for hire in London, and consider just what it is that makes this beautiful Belgravia mansion house such a fantastic choice for those seeking something truly special.

Make a Bold Impression by Hiring a Venue in Fashionable Belgravia

It would be impossible to write about the appeal of the Caledonian Club without making some reference to Belgravia, the chic and beautiful London neighbourhood in which this elegant 19th century mansion is located. For over two centuries, Belgravia has been considered the last word in urbane sophistication, and its iconic townhouses and public gardens are emblematic of London’s status as a stylish modern city in touch with its historic roots.

The Caledonian Club takes great pride in its location within the heart of Belgravia, and venue hire of the Caledonian Club allows guests the opportunity to enjoy the unique ambience of this part of London. For example, many receptions and parties held at the clubhouse will make use of one of Belgravia’s signature garden spaces – the perfect place in which to soak up the atmosphere, have a few photos taken, and generally make the most of this world-renowned part of the capital.

London Venue Hire Bursting with History

When one thinks of London venues for hire, it’s all too easy to immediately conjure up images of soulless, grey, industrial spaces, or corporate meeting rooms packed with identical office furniture. The Caledonian Club is the perfect antidote for such things; it’s a venue which exudes so much charm, so much history, and so many unique features – it’s safe to say there really isn’t another venue like it to be found anywhere else in the city.

The Caledonian Club is housed within the last mansion of its kind to be built in Belgravia, and offers its guests and clients the chance to soak up the atmosphere of a genuine 19th century townhouse. All throughout the venue, a huge number of the original furnishings have been beautifully maintained and preserved, and the decor and interior design of the entire building have been carefully selected to exude a sense of period grandeur and sophistication. Everywhere you look, there are clues to the building’s history and prestige, and the important role the club has played for the Scottish community here in London. To utilise the Caledonian Club as a venue hire opportunity is not merely to make use of beautiful function rooms – it’s a chance to partake in a slice of history, and to immerse oneself in beauty, elegance, and true Scots hospitality.

Highland Sophistication and Flawless Scottish Charm

Hiring The Caledonian Club is all about providing those moments of exclusivity, and an array of sensory treats which make this stunning Belgravia mansion a venue that stands head and shoulders above the rest. That’s why this venue offers a range of wonderful options for those seeking to hold their parties, receptions, meetings, and other events, and never stops seeking new ways to delight. The Caledonian Club is well renowned for its incredible catering; whether traditional Scottish food, whisky tasting experiences, finger buffets featuring fresh and seasonal produce, or something tailor-made for an event is required, this venue is guaranteed to hit all the right notes from the first moment to the last.

What’s more, The Caledonian Club features a team of event professionals and venue hire specialists, each of whom are absolutely committed to ensuring the whole experience goes ahead exactly as envisioned. No request is too great or too small, and the Caledonian Club team will be only too happy to talk through the multitude of options and opportunities open to you.

A Range of Flawless Function Rooms

As with any top-quality venue for hire in London, the Caledonian Club offers its patrons and guests a wide array of stunning function rooms and halls to choose from, with a fantastic range of sizes and styles available.

The largest (and many would argue, the most impressive) of the function rooms for hire at the Caledonian Club is the beautiful Johnnie Walker Room. This function space for hire is incredibly elegant and atmospheric, and it highlights the unique features of the club in a most glorious fashion. With a wealth of period features and breathtaking design points, the Johnnie Walker Room has a capacity for 200 guests or 150 seated attendees, making it ideal for sizeable receptions in which more space is required.

However, the options do not end there. Other popular function rooms for hire in this beautiful Belgravia venue include the Library (a magnificently ambient and sophisticated space), the Morrison Room, and the Ballroom, each of which have their own capacities, their own unique atmosphere, and a long list of factors which make them perfect for different types of events. With intimate spaces for up to thirty attendees, and larger rooms suitable for over a hundred guests, there’s no doubt about the fact that The Caledonian Club offers no shortage of venue hire opportunities that will inspire, delight, and provide many memorable moments.

Venue hire at The Caledonian Club is an opportunity to make a real impact with an event, elevating it from the ordinary to the truly extraordinary. Why not get in touch today, and see what this stunning Belgravia mansion can do for you?

May 24, 20190 commentsRead More

Belgravia, London – Our Neighbourhood at The Caledonian Club

Here at The Caledonian Club, we take great pride in many things. We’re immensely proud of our history as a member’s club for Scotsmen and women in London, and that we provide a friendly, luxurious, and homely welcome for our members, their friends and families, and our esteemed guests. We’re proud also of the dinners and parties we host, the charitable causes we support, and our dedication to upholding Scottish standards of excellence in food, drink, and hospitality. Our pride also goes into our events, with each and every wedding, birthday, anniversary, and Burns’ Night celebration being one to remember. However, we’re also incredibly proud of our location, and the fact that our stylish, elegant, and distinguished clubhouse is nestled in the very heart of Belgravia – one of London’s most exclusive and charming neighbourhoods.

The Caledonian Club has been a fixture in Halkin Street, Belgravia since 1946, and is housed in a spectacular Belgravia mansion house (indeed, number 9 Halkin Street was, in fact, the very last mansion house of its kind to be built in London), which typifies the elegance and sophistication which Belgravia is known for. This part of London is one which is absolutely synonymous with a timeless London style; it exudes an almost bohemian, literary, and artistic approach to architecture and city planning, and it remains in considerable demand to this day thanks to its iconic buildings, its secret gardens, and its friendly, open, and welcoming atmosphere.

Today, we’re taking a closer look at the environs which surround the Caledonian Club, and considering just what it is about Belgravia which makes this part of town so special, so unique, and so utterly evocative. Whether you’re a member of our club, or are interested in hiring one of our beautiful function rooms for a party, a wedding, or any other kind of event, knowing a little more about Belgravia and what to expect from this part of London is sure to heighten the Caledonian Club experience. Read on to find out more about our neighbourhood, and discover why we and our members love it so very, very dearly.

The Iconic Architecture of Belgravia

Wondering around Belgravia is a real treat for the senses, and we love nothing more than just stepping outside of our stylish clubhouse and taking it all in. The architecture of Belgravia really is the envy of London (and it has been imitated all across the globe) – those iconic white townhouses, with their stucco-fronted details have become synonymous with London style, and a sense of urbane glamour which is simply impossible to beat.

Dating back to the early 19th century, the style of houses in Belgravia heralds from the neighbourhood’s Georgian roots, when it was a fashionable new quarter for the capital’s elites. Possibly the finest examples can be seen on the striking Grosvenor Estate, which was built in the 1820s and perfectly retains its period charm.

A Greener Neighbourhood

They say that London is one of the greenest capital cities in the world, and the city is certainly renowned internationally for the size, beauty, and quality of its parks. However, it isn’t just in the parks of London where you get a real sense of this dedication to nature and clean, green spaces; a short walk around Belgravia will prove that the same love of trees, gardens, and wild corners can be found in its residential neighbourhoods, too.

Belgravia is well known for its garden squares and residents’ gardens, and our members will be sure to tell you about the many Caledonian Club parties and events we’ve enjoyed in such green spaces across the years. Beautiful, elegant, serene, and relaxing, they provide the natural heart of this neighbourhood, and we couldn’t imagine the area without them.

A Sense of Living History

Here at the Caledonian Club, we take our history very seriously indeed, and revel in the heritage and traditions we strive to keep alive in all that we do. Being in Belgravia, one cannot help but marvel at the history which runs through these streets, and enjoy the fact that the houses which surround us were once home to an incredible number of historic writers, poets, thinkers, and creatives… amongst many, many other individuals of note.

For example, both Mozart and Tennyson once called Belgravia home, as did Margaret Thatcher, Ian Fleming, and Sean Connery. If you want to get an idea of just how many influential historical figures lived and worked in Belgravia, simply take a wander through its streets. You quite literally cannot walk 100 metres without coming across a blue plaque; a real testament to the draw and appeal that Belgravia had and continues to have today.

Vibrant, Ever-Changing, and Always One Step Ahead

It would be all too easy to imagine Belgravia as a London neighbourhood content to remain frozen in time, as if the entirety of its streets and houses were preserved in 19th century amber. While streets and neighbourhoods matching this description can be found in other capital cities of Europe, this is something which could never be said for Belgravia. Indeed, for every stucco-fronted townhouse and historic pub or garden square, there’s always something new to discover, or a new business being launched and creating a stir amongst visitors and residents alike!

For many of our members and neighbours, this is one of Belgravia’s greatest assets; the fact that history and prestige can sit side by side with innovation, dynamism, and a fashion-forward identity. It’s certainly something which chimes with the values of the Caledonian Club – on the one hand, we celebrate tradition and keeping the old ways alive. However, on the other, we’re always open to new ideas and trends, and ever-keen to adapt and evolve to ensure our clients, visitors, and members remain intrigued and excited to see what we have up our sleeves!

The Quintessential Urban Village

It may be something of a cliche, but there’s no doubt that Belgravia really is an ‘urban village’ in the truest sense. Despite being in the heart of one of the world’s oldest, busiest, and most prestigious capital cities, living and staying in Belgravia will reveal friends, neighbours, and familiar faces everywhere you go. The warmth and openness of those who choose to call Belgravia home is one of the neighbourhood’s most valuable assets, and we’re deeply happy to count ourselves as one.

There you have it – a few facts and insights into Belgravia, and some points which demonstrate why this is one of London’s most beautiful, fascinating, and friendly neighbourhoods. The Caledonian Club may celebrate all things Scottish, but there’s no question that we’re immensely proud to call Belgravia home!

May 6, 20190 commentsRead More

Corporate Events at The Caledonian Club

London rightly deserves its reputation as being one of the world’s leading centres of corporate events, and the ever-bustling and dynamic capital has no shortage of impressive and imposing corporate events venues, each with a calendar full of fascinating conferences, gatherings, meetings, launches, receptions, and more. However, while there are plenty of both large and intimate events venues in the city to choose from, few – if any – possess the beauty, charm, and prestige of The Caledonian Club. This stunning and beguiling members club for those of Scottish heritage, nestled in the heart of one of London’s most beautiful neighbourhoods, is quickly gaining a name for itself as a leading venue for corporate events, and it really isn’t difficult to see why.

As soon as one walks through the doors of The Caledonian Club, you’re met with a sense of serenity, elegance, and utter sophistication. From the classically decorated meeting rooms, function spaces, and communal areas, to the incredible catering options and luxurious classic furnishings throughout, it’s clear that The Caledonian Club has something quite different to offer attendees and delegates of corporate events in London. When it comes to organising and hosting business events which need to make a deeply positive and lasting impact, this is one corporate events venue which simply cannot be overlooked.

Let’s take a closer look at The Caledonian Club, its history and prestige, and what it has to offer the events scene in London today. Whether you’re seeking to inject a sense of the Highlands into your next business launch, awards ceremony, or away day, or simply want to host your latest workshop series in a truly elegant and impactful setting, there’s little doubt that business events at The Caledonian Club are guaranteed to get your attendees talking.

Corporate Events That Truly Impress

They say you only get one chance to make a first impression, and that those first impressions can influence a lifetime of decisions. If this is indeed the case – and we really do believe it is – then choosing the right venue for your business events is of paramount importance when it comes to showing your company in the best possible light, and giving your sponsors their chance to really shine. The Caledonian Club is a truly wonderful corporate events venue to consider for business events of all types and sizes.

Not only will you have the chance to host your event in one of London’s most desirable and elegant neighbourhoods, The Caledonian Club offers the kind of interiors, ambience, and levels of service and attention to detail which will leave your attendees open-mouthed with amazement, and eager to spread the word about the sense of classic luxury and sophistication. The Caledonian Club has built its reputation across decades and decades of dedication to sheer excellence and exclusivity.

Your delegates and partners in attendance will take great delight in soaking up the exclusive atmosphere of this stunning venue, and enjoying the period furnishings and decor which fill the spectacular rooms of the club. However – despite The Caledonian Club being very much imbued with a beautifully vintage and authentic 19th century look – the events team are more than capable of setting up all of the AV and PA equipment you could wish for. As such The Caledonian Club is just as suited for contemporary business events as well as old-fashioned hospitality, blending the finest of both worlds in inimitable fashion.

History, Prestige, and Beauty Combined

While 21st century London celebrates its dynamism, modernity, and forward-thinking approaches to business, it’s of utmost importance to remember that this is also a city which is brimming with thousands of years of history and historical prestige. This is particularly significant to bear in mind if you’re hosting a business event or corporate gathering aimed at international delegates – it would be a great shame, after all, for them to fly to one of the cultural capitals of the world, and to then miss out on gaining a real taste of classic hospitality and an authentic dose of tradition. This is just one of the many reasons why The Caledonian Club is widely considered to be one of the most exciting and sought-after corporate events venues in the capital: here, your attendees can experience a genuine Scottish welcome, and revel in the unrivalled beauty and elegance that only Belgravia and its majestic townhouses and mansions can offer.

The Caledonian Club as an entity dates back to 1891, when it was established as a private members club for Scotsmen in London, and a place where gentlemen could gather, share stories, and keep their traditions alive when far from the misty mountains of home. The clubhouse how it is today was formally opened on Halkin Street in 1946, although the building itself dates back to the turn of the 20th century, when it was a private residence of the esteemed Morrison family. It is worth noting that Number 9 Halkin Street was actually the last mansion of its kind to be built in London, cementing the unique ambience that The Caledonian Club possesses, and very much making it a gem from another bygone era.

All of this wonderful history and the intoxicating atmosphere of the Caledonian Club is something which exists in the very walls, halls, and furnishings of this fascinating corporate events venue in London. As mentioned, hosting your next business gathering at this location is something which sends a clear message to your delegates, guests, and attendees: that when it comes to your events, only the very finest will suffice.

A Range of Stunning Rooms for Corporate Events

If you’re looking to host a business event at The Caledonian Club, one of the first things both you and the club’s team of event organisers will need to know is which rooms and function spaces you’ll be needing to make use of. You’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to picking the perfect space for your corporate event in Belgravia, as The Caledonian Club has no shortage of spectacular halls, dining spaces, and functional social and business areas to enjoy. Some of the most popular are listed below, although it is important to note that there are plenty of other options available, each equally impressive and ideal for a range of business purposes as the last.

While The Caledonian Club is certainly one of the smaller corporate events venue in comparison to many others in the capitaly, it’s the consistent intimacy and elegance this building exudes that makes it so special and popular with those seeking somewhere spectacular with which to impress their delegates. The largest – and perhaps the most impressive of all the function rooms at The Caledonian Club is the Johnnie Walker room, which is utterly beautiful in its design and period features, which has a capacity of 200 guests (or 150 seated attendees).

If you’re on the lookout for something a little more intimate for a workshop, a meeting, or a presentation, then the Library, the Ballroom, and the Morrison Room (among many others) are all available to hire, and offer guest capacities which range between thirty to one hundred and fifty attendees.

Whichever spaces or rooms you settle upon for your corporate event, one factor remains guaranteed: The Caledonian Club will provide all you need for a business event which will exude its unique Belgravia charm from start to finish, and the dedicated team will be on hand to ensure that every guest and delegate receives the attention they require, and the level of service your event deserves. Make no mistake: a corporate event at The Caledonian Club is one which all involved will remember forever, and there’s no doubt that choosing this beautiful period venue will work wonders for your business profile and reputation.

Traditional and Modern Catering Options for Business Events

The Caledonian Club is frequently utilised for a wide array of different events, which range from traditional Scottish weddings to cultural calendar highlights, and from high-powered corporate events to intimate business meetings and more. No matter what the occasion, the catering team at The Caledonian Club never fail to impress with the incredible food and drinks options on offer. If you’re planning a corporate conference or other business event at this beautiful clubhouse, you can rest assured that you and your delegates will be taken on a sensory journey quite unlike any other!

From light canapes to full sit-down multi-course dinners, the catering team at The Caledonian Club excel in providing mouthwatering food and drinks options for its guests. Using high quality Scottish and local ingredients, with a keen eye for seasonality and flavour, this venue is capable of ensuring your events are taken to new heights of excellence when it comes to flawless hospitality.

The Perfect Location for Corporate Events in London

It would be impossible to list the benefits of hosting a corporate event at The Caledonian Club without making some mention of the venue’s location. Situated in the heart of Belgravia in West London (and with access to one of this neighbourhood’s famous garden spaces, should you need an outdoor aspect to your event), The Caledonian Club is wonderfully accessible by car, by foot, or by public transport. Being just a stone’s throw from major national and international train stations, and all of London’s airports, also makes this venue perfect for events with a global reach, and it means that The Caledonian Club is fantastically accessible no matter where in the world your guests are arriving from.

The Caledonian Club: The Ideal Venue for Conferences and More The Caledonian Club really is one of the most unique, most prestigious, and most exciting corporate events venues on the events scene in London today. Thanks to its beauty, its superb position, and its undying dedication to delivering the utmost in all that it does, The Caledonian Club is quickly garnering a reputation for excellence .

Images are ©Lee Allison

April 3, 2019Comments are DisabledRead More

Isla St. Clair: Musical Memories of Home

Close your eyes, and think of Scotland. It’s a land of majestic natural beauty, of ancient and fascinating cities, of inventive and friendly people, and of a million other delights to all the senses. It’s also a country with one of the strongest, proudest, and most evocative musical traditions on earth, and for Scotsmen and women everywhere, the lilting ballads, feisty dances, and the irresistible power of the pipes are engraved upon their hearts, and never anything but an utter joy to encounter.

Over the centuries, Scotland has produced many of the most talented and timeless musicians, singers, and folk artists that have ever graced a stage. Imbued with a natural romanticism, and possessed of an ability to weave stories through song, they’ve contributed so much to Scottish cultural identity and a sense of being. Among the finest of the Scottish folk singers, we find the unique talent and stage presence that is Isla St. Clair; folk singer extraordinaire, and bonafide Scottish celebrity whose performances never fail to bring a reel to the legs and a patriotic tear to the eye.

Singing Songs as Old as the Hills

When Isla St. Clair takes to the stage, she brings centuries of heritage with her. Few folk singers today have such a clear passion for their material as Isla does, nor do they possess such an encyclopaedic knowledge of the history and cultural significance of the songs they sing. Whether she’s singing a simple reel, a timeless ballad, or one of her favourite popular folk numbers, Isla has the ability to capture her audience with little more than an acoustic guitar and her golden voice. At once melancholy and euphoric, her reinterpretations of iconic folk songs have brought delight to countless thousands across the years, and she seems to get better year by year on the folk circuit.

Isla St. Clair’s ability to transmit the history and majesty of the Scottish landscape, the essence of Scottish history and culture, and the incredible and evocative folk tradition she forms part of is a wonder to behold. It’s something which has come about after a lifetime of performance, study, and passion, and her expertise and mastery of the songs and her vocal skills are evident from start to finish. Isla’s musical career is one which has spanned the decades; she was already an established folk club singer in Aberdeen by the age of ten… and her star has only risen and risen since then. No wonder, then, that she is considered a preeminent folk singer and champion of Scottish musical heritage, and a performer of incredible pedigree and distinction.

Isla St. Clair: A Life in Music

Born on the 2nd of May, 1952 into a musical household in Grangemouth, Stirling, it was clear from a very young age that Isla St. Clair had a life in music ahead of her. Her regular performances at the Aberdeen folk club – at the tender age of ten years old – made her a favourite with those seeking to hear the classics sung with the purity of her young voice, and by the age of twelve, she was performing on both television and radio. Through her appearances on popular television programmes, such as My Kind of Folk and Stories are for Singing, the young star made contact with plenty of well-established singers on the folk circuit (not least the hugely successful and now almost legendary Jeannie Robertson), which undoubtedly fueled her enthusiasm. After leaving school at seventeen, Isla decided to follow her dreams and her heritage, and became a full-time professional folk singer with dozens of credits soon appearing against her name on the national and international folk scene.

Before long, the allure of London was irresistible to the young singer, and her natural charm and flawless voice made her the perfect choice to present The Song and The Story. Popular with viewers up and down the UK, and with her old fans in Scotland cheering her along every step of the way, her television career began to take off in a big way. Of course, we all remember with great fondness Isla St. Clair’s long-running collaboration with Larry Grayson on the BBC’s family game show, The Generation Game. Her appearances on Saturday night primetime TV led to many new fans discovering her vocal work and folk heritage, and when she finally left Grayson’s side to renew her enthusiasm for live folk performances, her fans remained true and endlessly supportive.

Over the decades which followed, Isla recorded several albums of traditional Scottish music, to great critical and fanbase acclaim. These included the stunning Inheritance, as well as the transportative album Scenes of Scotland, which featured Isla getting in touch with the music composed by her mother, and which she had once danced and sang along to as a little girl. Today, Isla remains at the peak of her powers, and her love of performing live to an enthusiastic audience seeking authentic Scottish folk music has faded not one bit. Her voice remains pure and true, her clear understanding of and passion for her her songs remains at the heart of her engrossing performances, and the essence of the musical tradition of her homeland informs each and every note.

A Night to Remember at The Caledonian Club

Back in April 2017, Isla St. Clair performed at the Caledonian Club in London for members. It’s hard to imagine a more fitting venue for the veteran folk singer; she was surrounded by those who share an enthusiasm, a fascination, and a deep respect for Scottish heritage, folklore, and culture, and her performance was met with rapturous applause, and nary a dry eye in the house.

Such cultural events are far from unusual at The Caledonian Club. As London’s premier private club for those of Scottish descent and heritage, concerts, performances, dance events, poetry readings, dinners, and whisky tastings – among many more cultural highlights – are key aspects of this elegant club’s monthly roster of gatherings. It’s a place to be surrounded by friends and fellow countrymen and women, and something of a home from home, where tales are shared and memories relived. What’s more, with the Caledonian Club’s incredible chefs and catering team, it offers a more literal taste of home, and a wide range of sensory delights which are sure to transport you to the beauty and majesty of Scotland.

Isla St. Clair’s beautiful performance in one of the grandest rooms of the Caledonian Club was a genuine pleasure to be involved in, and her songs undoubtedly moved the emotions of all who were present. She’s sure to return some day soon, bringing her ancestral music with her… but in the meantime, there’s plenty to explore and enjoy at this wonderful events space and clubhouse. We hope to see you soon, and provide you with an authentic Scottish welcome that’ll never be forgotten.

January 26, 20191 commentRead More

The Club is open throughout August!

We would like to remind members that The Caledonian Club is open throughout August. Our Members Dining Room will be open for Lunch (12.45-2.15pm) and Dinner (7.00-9.30pm), Monday to Friday, and a lighter snack menu will be available on the terrace 12pm – 7pm.

We would greatly appreciate it if Members could book in advance.

Accommodation and Banqueting facilities will also be available seven days a week.

We look forward to welcoming you and your guests to experience The Caledonian Club and hopefully enjoy some Summer sunshine.


We are pleased to report the refurbishment of the Bar shelving is completed and 200 whiskies are now available at the Bar!





Scots in Great War London is now available to buy from Reception.

Please click here for the calendar of events from 2018.







Staff News

The first Staff Summer Party, held on Saturday 28th July, proved very popular. A lovely sunny day al fresco with some great food, drinks, family and friends. Click here to view some pictures.

August 17, 20180 commentsRead More

June 2018 News

Friday Fizz & Summer Sharing Platters

There’s always an excuse to celebrate, especially with our Friday Fizz evenings!

Prosecco at just £19.95 per bottle on Friday evenings from 6pm to 8.30pm from June until the end of August.
Escape to the tranquility of the Club Terrace and enjoy some summer sparkles along with our new sharing platters. A relaxed dress code of smart/casual applies from 6pm on Fridays.

Summer Sharing Platters for Two. Served Monday to Friday from 12pm- 7pm. Just £18.00 each

Charcuterie Board
A selection of Cured Meats, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Olive Oil & Balsamic, Warm Pitta BreadSmoked Fish Board
Smoked Salmon, Mackerel & Trout, Taramasalata, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Warm Pitta Bread

Vegetarian Board
Chargrilled Mediterranean Vegetables, Houmous, Tzatziki, Greek Yoghurt, Warm Pitta Bread

New Magazine out soon!
Members will be posted a copy of the summer magazine the week commencing 25th June. Thanks to the editorial team, for all their hard work on this edition!
The Summer Ball was a huge success!

The Summer Ball, held on 1st July with a ‘Highlands and Islands’ theme, was a huge success with over 130 Members and Guests in attendance.

Images can be viewed here and purchased by contacting Monica Wells at
June 21, 20180 commentsRead More

April 2018 News


With the weather getting brighter there is no better place to wind down and relax than our beautiful Terrace. Why not try one of our new cocktails?
-Black Russian
-Caledonian Club Cocktail
-Dark & Stormy
-Espresso Martini
-Old Fashioned
-Tom Collins

Monday Curry Night

From Monday 14th May our Chef will be offering a choice of curry each Monday evening, alongside our usual menu. They will include a selection of curries from the Indian Sub-Continent, China and Thailand. The menu is as follows and priced at £13.50 per person.

Easter Carvery Success

Over 50 Members, guests and family attended the carvery on Easter Sunday. A selection of starters followed by Roast Beef, Ham, Turkey and Lamb and finished off with dessert kept hunger at bay after the Easter egg hunt on the ground floor.

Our next Family Carvery will be held before Christmas with Santa already booked to make an appearance – details to follow.

Barman’s Choice

Chris Smith has been looking closely at our whisky selection and is looking to add some special malts to our already extensive range – do look out for his choices on the bar and he would welcome feedback! Current choice… Tomatin 8yr old.

April 3, 20180 commentsRead More

February 2018 News

Third Annual Scottish Schools Art Exhibition

The exhibition will run until Friday 23rd March in the Drawing Room, with the Club hosting a private view for members, artists and parents or school representatives on Thursday 22nd March.

Charlotte Riordan, Head of Contemporary Art at Lyon & Turnbull, is this year’s judge and has chosen her top three pieces.

The following schools have submitted artwork, including some wonderful
self portraits, landscapes and photography:

-George Watson’s College
-Glenalmond College
-High School of Dundee
-Lomond School
-Robert Gordon’s College
-St Aloysius’ College
-The High School of Glasgow

If you’d like to attend the private view please contact Amber Claybourne at or on 020 7333 8722.

Please welcome our new Dining Room Manager

Alex Grainger joins us from The Wolseley and has an extensive background in Hospitality and Event Management.

These roles included Restaurant Manager at Colbert, Sloane Square and Waltons of Walton Street, Chelsea and the boutique Dinham Hall Hotel in Ludlow, in addition to managing events and all catering operations at the Belvoir Estate and being Director of Operations at Hampton Court.

February 5, 20180 commentsRead More