Royal Automobile Club


Royal Automobile Club

The Royal Automobile Club is a private club and is not to be confused with RAC plc, a motorists' organization, which it formerly owned.

It has two club houses, one in London at 89-91 Pall Mall, and the other in the countryside of Epsom, Surrey at Woodcote Park. Like some other "gentlemen's clubs" in London, the Royal Automobile Club now has women as well as men as members.

It was founded on 10 August 1897 as the Automobile Club of Great Britain (and later, Ireland). [cite web|url=http://www.royalautomobileclub.co.uk/archive/archive_navmain5.asp?groupid=2344&t=subsub|title=Royal Automobile Club website|accessdate=2008-02-25] King Edward VII's interest in motoring led to the command "that the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland should henceforth be known as The Royal Automobile Club". The headquarters were originally at 4 Whitehall Court, moving to 119 Piccadilly in 1902. In 1911 they moved to the current address, part of the site of the old War Office. The club house was (and remains) one of the largest in London, with a frontage to Pall Mall of 228 feet and a depth, in the centre, of 140 feet. It cost over a quarter of a million pounds and is described in the "Survey of London" as "a polished essay in the late French Renaissance manner".

In 1905, the Club organised the first Tourist Trophy (TT) motorcycle race, the oldest regularly run motor race. The Club became the governing body for motor sport in Britain.

The RAC were responsible for organising the first British Grand Prix motor race at Brooklands, Surrey in 1926 and also runs its sister organisation, the MSA (formerly RAC MSA).

The Club is one of the best equipped of all the Pall Mall "gentlemen's" clubs. It possesses a recently renovated Victorian Turkish baths, one of the finest swimming pools in London, squash courts (including a doubles court), a snooker room and three restaurants.

Various parts of the Pall Mall club house have been used as the location for numerous films and television programmes including "Where Eagles Dare" and "Snatch" to name just two.

References

External links

* [http://www.royalautomobileclub.co.uk/ Royal Automobile Club website]
* [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=40612 Survey of London] - illustrated architectural account of the London club house


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