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History

Our History

Over 20 million people have stayed at the Union Jack Club since it was founded in 1907. Situated in the heart of one of the most vibrant capital cities in the world, the Union Jack Club continues to grow from strength to strength, with continued programme of development and modernisation keeping the atmosphere and facilities fresh and up to date.

Serving and Ex-Serving non-commissioned members of the Armed Forces are why we exist. We provide accommodation, a relaxed atmosphere and the camaraderie unique to the Military community. Young and old, retired and serving, everyone can come and enjoy a ‘scrap of comfort’ be it a drink, meal, a stay or even a special event (conference, wedding or seminar) in our unique, historic surroundings.

Historic interest

There are a number of historic areas of the club:

  • Victoria Cross Board: the only known commemoration of its kind to all those who have earned the VC
  • Lawrence of Arabia also used to stay at the club regularly as a member, when he adopted the identity of Aircraftman Shaw

Founder

The Union Jack Club was founded by Mrs Ethel McCaul, a nurse who served in the South African War at the turn of the 20th Century. While officers had their clubs, servicemen below commissioned rank had nowhere reputable to stay with their families in the nation’s capital. Mrs McCaul was determined that they should have the opportunity to do this and see London and all its sights.

Mrs McCaul’s tireless fundraising efforts began in 1903 with concerts, entertainment and events throughout the country. She felt that a new club would benefit the Armed Forces and their ability to protect the Empire.

The Prince of Wales laid the foundation stone in July 1904 and as King Edward VII officially opened the Cub in 1907 with Queen Alexandra at his side.

The original Edwardian building which was completed towards the end of 1904 had extensive public rooms and 208 bedrooms. Over the years there was a great demand for the services provided and the need for expansion became urgent. Waterloo remained the area of choice and the addition of a families’ block in Exton Street helped solve the problem of the Club’s popularity.  The subsequent acquisition of a separate annexe in Holmes Terrace meant that by 1939 the Club could offer 1018 beds and had become a major part of the Waterloo community, as it is today.

  • Special Events
    The Club runs monthly special events that are announced on Facebook & Twitter
  • Contact Us
    The Union Jack Club's versatile accommodation caters perfectly for individuals, couples, families and groups.
  • About Us
    The Club prides itself on its history with the Armed Forces