Albemarle Club, London

The Albemarle club in London. has been controversial since its conception in 1874. Even though it was introduced as a 'Gentleman's club', Albemarle was always open to both men and women, something that frowned upon. They were also criticized for their progressive attitude towards women's rights, and were even forced to increase their membership fees because they couldn't find patrons that espoused their values. Ironically, what made them popular was the Oscar Wilde scandal. Wilde and his wife were known to frequent the club, and in an effort to force Wilde to end his affair with his son, the Marquess of Queensberry left for him what has now become an infamous calling card. The note read “For Oscar Wilde, posing sodomite.” The note angered Wilde so much that he took the Marquess to court for defamation, claiming that it had ruined his life. This defamation suit in April was the first in the series of three trials. When asked directly, Wilde denied the entire affair, and his lawyer went so far as to say that the letters between him and Lord Albert were expressions of the poetic form rather than proof of a sexual relationship, and that the letters that were stolen from Douglas’ pocket were part of a prose poem that Wilde was working on. However, the case began to fall apart when the Marquess’ lawyer produced several young men that claimed to have had relations with Wilde. While the Marquess was pronounced not guilty, the trial prompted a second, only this time against Oscar Wilde. After Wilde was imprisoned the club made efforts to distance itself from him, fearing repercussion from its remaining patrons. Ironically, their popularity shot up, and everyone wanted to come to the club where Oscar Wilde (Now a very famous sodomite) used to go. Despite moving to a different location, the scandal haunted the club, and for better or worse kept it current well into the 20th Century. 


Latitude: 51.508824100000
Longitude: -0.141923500000

Timeline of Events Associated with Albemarle Club, London

Date Event Manage
Apr 1895 to May 1895

Trials of Oscar Wilde

photo of WildeThe trials of Oscar Wilde, which occurred in April and May of 1895, have become legendary as a turning-point in the history of public awareness of homosexuality. By their close, Wilde had gone from being a triumphantly successful playwright to a ruined man, condemned to two years of hard labor for gross indecency. They garnered extensive coverage first in the London press and then in newspapers around the world; the story of the trials continues to be retold in ways that have persistent relevance for contemporary queer culture. Image: Photograph of Oscar Wilde, by Napoleon Sarony. This image is in the public domain in the United States because its copyright has expired.


Andrew Elfenbein, “On the Trials of Oscar Wilde: Myths and Realities”