Sunday, 13 December 2009

The Eccentric Lords

Whilst awaiting a response to my initial email, my bid to join The Eccentric Club had me asking myself one pivotal question. Does being a Lord and being an eccentric go hand in hand?

I hadn't considered this question prior to my discovery of this illustrious club; but the more research I did, the more I realised that becoming an eccentric was probably integral to my continuous development as a Lord. Especially if I wanted to get closer to achieving the goals I had set myself at the start of my project. After all, it was obvious I would need to meet other Lords at some point in order to do this, and with no success coming by way of a positive response from The House of Lords administrators, The Eccentric Club appeared by far and away my most likely source.

I started rummaging through the club's list of members, past and present, as well as looking for 'Lords' via the Google search engine. Before long I was able to go some way towards answering my pivotal question. It appeared eccentricity was quite a common trait amongst pretty much every person I happened to read about. Here are just a few select examples:

Lord Lonsdale (1857-1944) - Member and one-time President of The Eccentric Club



Lord Lonsdale was an iconic member of the Eccentrics. He was known as 'The Yellow Earl' for his love of the colour yellow, and was an avid fan and participant in various sports, not least boxing (during the days when it was still illegal to participate) where he became such an important figure that a certain boxing equipment company was named after him. He had brief stints at being chairman of Arsenal Football Club and President of the AA (who adopted the colour yellow in his honour) and was a lover of cigars and foxhunting. He was also known for his part in a now 'infamous' wager with another eccentric over whether a man could circumnavigate the globe and remain unidentified.

Lord Bath (1932 - present) - Associate of The Eccentric Club

Lord Bath is perhaps the most instantly recognisable of all the Lords, often being publicised in the national media for some of his suggested eccentricities, but more accurately known as the owner of Longleat House, and the land in which Longleat Safari Park resides. He is well-renowned for undertaking the writing of what could potentially be the most monumental of all autobiographies (although not yet complete) which, at last count, was over six million words long.

Lord Berners - (1883 - 1950) Frequent Guest of The Eccentric Club



Lord Berners was arguably the most eccentric of all the Eccentric Club affiliates, renowned for his talents as a composer, novelist, painter and aesthete. He developed a taste for unique behaviour from a very young age; and undertook experiments such as trying to teach his dog to fly by throwing it from a window (based on the premise that if you throw a dog into water, it instantly learns to swim). As far as is known, some of his experiments were failures. In later life, he was the owner of a pet giraffe and was believed to have had a 100 foot viewing tower constructed outside his house with a notice at the entrance reading: “Members of the Public committing suicide from this tower do so at their own risk."

Lord Longford (1905 - 2001) - Not affiliated with the club, but still eccentric


Lord Longford, left, with the Queen and Princess Anne

Lord Longford, though on occasions deemed to be highly controversial, is remembered for his acts of liberalism and most of all, his strong beliefs. It is said he was a man of paradoxes, having been born and raised an aristocrat, a Protestant, a Conservative and a supporter of British control in Northern Ireland, only to end up becoming a Roman Catholic, a socialist, and a backer of the Irish Republic. He is also well-renowned for his slightly bizarre 30 year-long efforts to secure the release from jail of Moors murderer Myra Hindley.

Unfairly nicknamed 'Lord Porn' in the 1970's for his attempts to have pornography banned because of its degrading nature, he was also famous for his 'Pakenham Leap' during World War Two, where, on landing in Germany to take up a new post, he failed to notice that there was a delay in the wheeling out of the plane's door-steps, only to walk out and fall ten feet through the air onto his face; smashing his spectacles in the process. Whatever appears to be said about the man, there is no denying it is a commonly agreed fact that his life was riddled with acts of eccentricity.

Lord Christopher Ward

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The Eccentric Club

Eventually, after a week of waiting, I received a response from the House of Lords regarding the email I had sent them about my recent purchase of a title and my request for a seat within the house:

'Thanks for your email. For information with regards to inheriting a title please contact the Head of the Crown Office, email address: ************'

It wasn't exactly what I was hoping for. I forwarded the original email on to the personal address they had given me, and sat back to ponder what my next step was going to be.

Suddenly, as if by magic, an email (from a source that will remain nameless) appeared, with the web address of a prestigious club it was assumed I might be wise to check out with more than a little detail. I clicked on the link.

'The Eccentric Club'

I had never heard of this club before. I mean I'd heard of 'The Brilliants', but 'The Eccentrics'? I wanted to know more. I read about the club's history: - formally known as 'The Illustrious Society of Eccentrics', it seems that anyone who is anyone in the peerage and gentlemen's game has been associated with this Mayfair-based organisation for over two hundred years now.
Having only recently been resurrected in 2008 from 19 years in the 'gentlemen's club wilderness' (the old club had been made homeless before finally finding an agreement to share house with 'The Art's Club' on 40 Dover Street, London), the club operates with the sole intention of being a meeting point for many great and original minds, (and as the website specifies, a place for 'the cultivation of eccentricity').

I was slowly becoming open to the possibilities of the club. I read on. The Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles were honorary lifelong members. This was serious stuff. I read the list of actual members: Charles James Fox, Richard Brinsley Sheridan, William Lamb (Lord Melbourne), Lord Melbourne?! It had Lords as members? I continued reading the list; Lord Denman, Lord Campbell... There were plenty of members who were Lords, this was perfect!

I had a brainwave; I would check out what I would need to do to apply. I clicked on the 'contact' page and wrote them an email explaining my situation, as well as my credentials for potentially joining and becoming an 'eccentric'. I suddenly envisaged myself as the new Phileas Fogg (or perhaps Willy Fog, the animated lion version); making high-stake bets with other Lords over rights to estates and access to the 'special key' to Buckingham Palace (have you heard about that rumour?). It could be amazing. So what if the House of Lords don't instantly take to me? I had another way in that was just as exciting. Another route to improving my life through the use of my title. I would bid to become a member of The Eccentric Club.


Man with a birdcage on his head.
Just another member of the 'The Eccentric Club'.
For more information click on the photo and follow the link.

Lord Christopher Ward

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About Me

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For those of you who are new to knowing me, I am Lord Christopher Ward. Second in line to the internet throne, third in line at the post office on a Wednesday morning. Currently a student studying Professional Writing in Falmouth, Cornwall, I envisage a world where I can surf, write, and use my title to get me free stuff. Just don't ask me how I got here; my memory is warped from time to time.