History

In the beginning....

The Solus Club was founded on Friday 8th March 1929 at the Café Royal, London.

The name was originally suggested by one of the founders and it remains something of a mystery as to why it was chosen or what it means.

However, its central tenet,  that it should be an unpretentious place to meet - and for its members to get to know and enjoy each other's company - remains as true today as it ever was.

A glimpse into Solus Club history

The history of the Solus Club is held in 12 handsomely bound leather volumes kept at the History of Advertising Trust.

Opening these pages is to delve back into the very heart of British advertising, but it is the personalities of the Club members and its speakers that really shine through.

Members, like the colourful AT Chenhalls, the Hon. Auditor in the 1930s, who was mistaken in Lisbon for Winston Churchill - with the result that his plane to the UK was shot down over the Bay of Biscay by a squadron of German fighters…

Or Maurice Buckmaster – the spymaster who ran the British SOE sabotage network in occupied France during WW2 and who was President of the Club in 1962. (Our own James Bond - or rather, James Bond's boss, M.)

Nowadays, our members are far more likely to be heading major advertising agencies, media operations or client companies, but - in their own way - they are just as impressive.

And if the Solus Club is home to the advertising industry’s grandees, it has also provided a remarkable after-dinner platform for a host of star guests.

In the past, we have entertained generals, royalty (the Dukes of Kent and Gloucester), four prime ministers (Callaghan, Wilson, Heath and Major); Sir Keith Murdoch (Rupert’s father), Sir Philip Green and Sir Stuart Rose from the higher echelons of business, and Sir David Frost, Lord Attenborough and Al Murray from the world of entertainment. Likewise, the Bishop of London has been our guest - while Terry Waite addressed the Club only weeks before his abduction and disappearance for four years in Beirut.

Venues

During its early years, the Solus Club had many venues for its meetings – from the Café Royal, through Kettners, the Ivy, and the Hungaria - to the Hyde Park Hotel in 1950.

Then in 1988, we moved to the Dorchester, which - allowing for a brief spell away during some refurbishment - has been our home ever since...