50) adjoining the tavern; this was the first of Almack's clubs, and was the immediate precursor of two of the greatest clubs in St. It appears to have been formed in opposition, perhaps for political reasons, to White's (then often called Arthur's), for rule 12 as originally drafted forbad any member of Almack's from membership of any other London club, 'nor of what is at present called Arthur's or by whatever Name that Society or Club may be afterwards called, neither of new or old club or any other belonging to it'.In February 1763 this rule was altered and made even more emphatic: 'If any Member of this Society becomes a Member of Arthur's or a Candidate for Arthur's, he is of Course struck out of this Society.' The record book of the new society was kept by Almack as a statement of the terms on which he agreed to provide for the social needs of the members, and it has survived amongst the records of Boodle's.However, William Almack’s wife, Elizabeth Cullen, was Scottish, and Almack himself may have met her whilst they were both in the service of the Duke of Hamilton, Almack as valet to the Duke and Elizabeth as waiting maid to the Duchess.
The original rules of 1764 forbad membership of any other London club except 'old' White's, but this rule was quickly repealed, certainly before 1772. Edward Gibbon became a member in 1776 and in a letter of that year he describes the use which he made of the club: 'Town grows empty and this house, where I have passed very agreable [sic] hours, is the only place which still unites the flower of the English youth.Heavy gambling immediately became prevalent and in 1770 Horace Walpole commented that 'the gaming at Almack's which has taken the pas of White's, is worthy the decline of our Empire, or Commonwealth. The style of living though somewhat expensive is exceedingly pleasant and notwithstanding the rage of play I have found more entertaining and even rational society here than in any other Club to which I belong.' In September 1777 Brooks acquired from Henry Holland the younger a site on the corner of Park Place and St.From 1841 to 1845 part of the house was occupied by the London Library.The freehold of the house had been acquired in 1785 by William Almack's son, and it subsequently passed to Elizabeth Pitcairn, William Almack's daughter.James's Street next month, it is to consist of as many of the present members of Almack's as choose to put their names down'; and in the following month 'Brooks opens his house in St. He invites all or as many as please to come from the Club in Pall [Mall], and Almack desires us to stay with him, but as there can be no reason for preferring a bad old house to a good new one, I imagine Brookes will be victorious.' This prophecy was fulfilled, for there are no references to Almack's club in Pall Mall after 1778.
The new club in Pall Mall is to this day known by Brooks’s name. 49) vacated by Brooks in 1778 was occupied from 1779 to 1786 by James Carr, and from 1787 to 1790 it was occupied by Thomas Nelson and (for part of this period) Peter Wilder, who were sub-tenants of William Almack's widow and son.The site of the club, Almack's Assembly Rooms or (from 1781) Willis's Rooms, has become retrospectively interchangeable with the club, though for much of the club’s lifetime the rooms offered a variety of other entertainments with no connection to the club.The history of Almack’s begins with its founder William Almack (the elder).The rules of the society could only be changed by the unanimous vote of at least thirty members.The annual subscription was to be two guineas, to be paid 'to Almack for the House'.In 1790 the house was described as 'Almack's Hotel'.