Image by maesejose via Flickr
By James Man
Founded in 1869, the Hurlingham Club is a very popular sports club in Fulham, London, England. It sits on the banks of the River Thames in Fulham and the beautiful building is the centerpiece of a lush 42-acre plot. The look and feel of Hurlingham isn't very different than that of a lavish golf course. However, Hurlingham offers much more than simply golf.
Members have tennis courts, croquet, cricket, bowls, squash, and even swimming - indoor or outdoor - to keep them entertained. Apart from football, the club has every essential English sport covered. There's also a full gymnasium on the grounds, and members also participate in backgammon, bridge and chess matches.
The only way that an individual can gain membership into the club is to be recommended and then seconded by at least two currently full-time members at Hurlingham. Currently, the waiting list for membership is rather long, and the only exceptions made for additional members are children of current members, who receive preferential treatment over others. Currently, Hurlingham has over 10,000 members, and new members are expected to wait over 15 years to be accepted.
Frank Heathcote decided to promote pigeon shooting matches at Hurlingham in 1867 and decided to open up the club. To this day, the pigeon is still the club's official crest. The Hurlingham Club has managed to avoid the pitfalls of similar establishments. Instead of losing popularity, the sheer size of Hurlingham has enabled it to increase its membership over time. The many different features offered and various celebrities who frequent the club make it a big attraction in England.
The Hurlingham House is more like a palace. Solid bright white gigantic pillars are the first thing noticed on this spacious mansion, and the large porch and Victorian style architecture give it a historic look and feel.
Inside the house, many lavish bedrooms, bathrooms and dining areas make members as comfortable as can be. There are drawing rooms and television rooms indoors, as well as other areas for dining and casual relaxing. However, since it's a sports club, the lion's share of the action takes place outside.
All 42 acres of Hurlingham are well-kept. Beautiful purple, yellow and white flowers from the outlying garden match the bright green of the grass and the surrounding forestry perfectly. It's quite a serene setting for such an active atmosphere. The grass tennis courts are in abundance at Hurlingham, with over 40 to choose from. Famous tennis stars such as Rafael Nadal have stopped in to grace the courts at Hurlingham with their presence.
Various events are planned year-round in Hurlingham. The Bowls and Croquet in August, Salon Prive, 20/20 Triangular Cricket Match, Family Picnic and regular garden parties are all examples of events held on the club's grounds. Hurlingham is essentially about high-society, and most members are extremely well-to-do and have a taste for the finer things in life.
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