St James’s traces its history back to the 1660s, when Henry Jermyn was given permission to develop the area centred on St James’s Square as an aristocratic residential quarter. As it evolved, St James’s became an important centre for tailors, cigar retailers, fine wine merchants and most of all, gentlemen’s clubs. Indeed, the district became so synonymous with the latter that it was dubbed ‘Clubland’. Today, that tradition persists and St James’s is home to many of the Capital’s finest private members’ clubs.
In the heart of St James’s, between St James’s Square and St James’s Park, is Pall Mall. The name of the street derives from the “pall mall” game, which originated in Italy and involved hitting a ball (palla) along the grass with a mallet (maglio). The game became fashionable in London during the reign of Charles II, who often played it in St James’s Park. The street soon became renowned among the upper echelons of London society and became home to a number of artists and writers such as Swift and Gainsborough.
With its long history as the centre of fine wine in the United Kingdom, St. James’s now fittingly has a clubhouse where the world’s best wines are enjoyed and better understood by a select and discerning membership.