“The best Club that ever met”

 – Sir John Vanbrugh, Kit-Cat Club member

The original Kit-Cat Club was a gathering of intellects and interests which flowered for around 20 years in the early 18th century.  Its prominent members included William Congreve, Sir John Vanbrugh, Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Sir Robert Walpole (as well as no fewer than nine Dukes), and it became a centre of formidable power and patronage.

The Kit-Cats are remembered for their toasts drunk to the accompaniment of celebratory verses honouring ‘’bright dames’’ including Lady Mary Wortley Montague, the Duchess of Beaufort and the scandalous Diana Kirke – and for the portraits by Kneller’ of 48 of their members.

The original Kit-Cat has had many successors, some more distinguished than others.  The London based Kit Cat Club, whose 21st birthday we celebrated on the 21st June 2010 , shares its name (if not its ethos) with numerous jazz joints and dance bands, a literary association at Yale, a group of radical sexual liberationists in Berlin and, of course, the chocolate bar.

The Kit Cat Club is grateful to the following:

Marcus du Sautoy – Mathematician, broadcaster, author and Professor for the Public Understanding of Science on ‘What We Cannot Know’
Misha Glenny –  Journalist and writer, on Organised Crime Networks
Grayson Perry CBE  – Artist, on Masculinity and being a ‘Typical Man in a Dress.’
Leo Johnson – Author, broadcaster and sustainability expert on ‘The City of the Future’
Panellists: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Underwear: History. Fantasy. Reality….
Edwina Ehrman – Curator of the V&A exhibition ‘Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear’
Samantha Roddick – Founder of Coco de Mer, the British lingerie brand
Soozie Jenkinson – Head of Lingerie Design, Marks & Spencer
Matthew Syed –  Times journalist, broadcaster, table tennis international,and author of ‘Black Box Thinking’
Solange Azagury-Partridge – Jewellery designer
Nick Jones – Founder, the Soho House Group
Christina Lamb – Leading Foreign Correspondent & Bestselling Author
Simon Schama – On his landmark TV series and NPG Exhibition, ‘The Face of Britain’
Jamie Bartlett – Author of ‘The Dark Net’ & Director, Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos.
Rita Clifton CBE – Chair, BrandCap & Former Chair , Interbrand
Peter Williams – Founder & CEO of Jack Wills on ‘Building a Cult Brand’
Nick Davies – Author of ‘Hack Attack’ on ‘Have we got the Press we deserve?’
Dana Thomas – Journalist & New York Times bestselling author on Alexander McQueen & John Galliano
Julia Hobsbawm – Founder, Editorial Intelligence on ‘The 21st Century Woman’s Guide to Networking’
Jamie Byng – Publisher on ‘The Way We Read Now’
Earl Spencer – Historian, author of ‘Killers of the King’, on regicides
Olivia Williams – Journalist and author of ‘Gin Glorious Gin’ on the new ‘Ginaissance’
Hugo Burnand – Photographer
Paul Dolan – Professor of Behavioural Science, LSE, and author of ‘Happiness by Design’
Tom Standage –Digital Editor, The Economist, and author of ‘Writing on the Wall: Social Media – The First 2,000 Years’
Carl Honoré – Writer, broadcaster ‘In Praise of Slow’
Kate Hobhouse – Chairman, Fortnum & Mason, on three hundred years of retail
Heather McGregor – Author of ‘Careers Advice for Ambitious Women’ and the FT’s ‘Mrs Moneypenny’ Columnist
Will Gompertz – BBC ARTS Editor, Author of ‘What Are You Looking At?: 150 Years of Modern Art in the Blink of an Eye
Ruby Wax – Writer, comedian, campaigner on ‘How to Tame your Mind’
Sir David Tang – FT Columnist, Entrepreneur and Founder of Shanghai Tang
John Rushworth – Partner, Pentagram Design – Insights from the Experts
Tristram Stuart – Author of ‘Waste’, on campaigning to make difference
Lawrence Krauss – Astrophysicist, Author of ‘A Universe from Nothing’, on the Higgs Boson and why we are all stardust
Rory Stewart OBE MP – Author, Politician & Former Executive Chairman, Turquoise Mountain Foundation
Jeremy Vine – BBC Journalist &Presenter, and Author of It’s All News to Me’
Cath Kidston MBE – Designer & Entrepreneur – On turning Nostalgia into Contemporary Success
William Sitwell – Editor & Food Writer on ‘A History of Food in 100 Recipes’
Frances Osborne – Author – On Feisty Women in Fact and Fiction
Simon Schama – Historian, writer and broadcaster
Rory Sutherland – Vice Chairman Ogilvy & Mather UK, Spectator columnist
Amanda Foreman – British/American biographer and historian
Paul Rose – TV presenter, Antarctic Base commander, professional diver, mountain and polar guide
Richard Rogers (Baron Rogers of Riverside CH Kt FRIBA) – Leading British Architect
Theo Fennell – Internationally renowned Jewellery Designer
Johnnie Boden – Founder of clothing catalogue Boden
David Abraham – Chief Executive, Channel 4
Philip Mould OBE – Art Dealer specialising in historic portraits, author and broadcaster
Will Hutton – Author of the Fair Pay Review, Chief Executive of The Work Foundation on ‘Fairness’
Kirsty Young – Television and Radio Presenter
Tracy Worcester – Environmental Campaigner, Producer of the documentary Pig Business
Ian Kelly – Actor, Biographer on Casanova
Kinvara Balfour – Style Expert, Contributing Editor DailyCandy.com on ‘Coolhunting
Willie Harcourt-Cooze Entrepreneur, Chocolatier, broadcaster and author of ‘Willie’s Chocolate Revolution’
Arabella Weir – Author, Actress and Comedien
Baroness Susan Greenfield – Neuroscientist; ‘Is computer and screen culture changing our brains?’
Alastair Fothergill – Award-winning Producer, Director and Presenter of Nature Documentaries
Andrew Rawnsley – Political Commentator, Author & Broadcaster
Brian Eno – Musician, Producer, Campaigner
John Mullan – Academic & Author; ‘Insider Tales from a Booker Prize Judge’
Sir Stuart Rose – Executive Chairman, Marks & Spencer
Camila Batmanghelidjh – Founder and Director of Kids Company
Nicholas Haslam – Interior designer
Nick Clegg – MP for Sheffield Hallam and leader of the Liberal Democrats
Toby YoungJournalist, author of “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” and Free School founder
Sir Tim Rice – Award-winning lyricist
Anya Hindmarch MBE – Award winning Fashion Designer & BFA Designer Brand of the year 2007
Nick Davies – Journalist, Reporter and Feature Writer of the Year and Author of ‘Flat Earth News’
Pilar Ordovas – Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s
A C Grayling – Professor of Philosophy, on what the ‘good’ as in ‘the good life’ really means
Cristina Odone – Editor & writer of The Telegraph’s popular column, “Posh but Poor”
Carol Thatcher – Writer and ‘I’m a Celebrity….’ winner
Geordie Greig – Editor, Tatler on Journalism – from crime reporting to the catwalk’
Dr Olivia Judson – evolutionary biologist and award-winning science journalist, author of ‘Dr Tatiana’s sex advice to all creation’
Alex Brummer – City Editor of the Daily Mail, author of The Crunch: The Scandal of Northern Rock and the Escalating Credit Crisis
Kate ReardonVanity Fair contributing editor, on internet business success and her Top Tips for Girls.
Ophelia Field – Author of The Kit-Cat Club; The fascinating history of the male-only 18th century club that was an unofficial centre of political power
John Micklethwait – Author and Editor of The Economist newspaper
Sahar Hashemi – Coffee Republic co-founder, entrepreneur, best-selling author
Kate Blewett – Documentary filmmaker.  Producer of The Dying Rooms and Bulgaria’s Abandoned Children
Prue Leith OBE – Founder of Leith’s catering, restaurants and cookery school
Nina Grunfeld – Founder of Life Clubs, author of ‘The Big Book of Us’
Simon Woodroffe – Entrepreneur, visionary and founder of Yo! Sushi Restaurants
Ben Fogle – Television presenter and trans-Atlantic rower
Peter York Cultural Commentator, author of the original Sloane Ranger Handbook
Amanda Wakeley – International designer of luxurious, elegant women’s wear
Dylan Jones – Editor of GQ
Dominic Lawson – Columnist, former Editor, Spectator & Sunday Telegraph
Joanna Hardy – Director of Jewellery, Sotheby’s
Bettany Hughes – Historian and Television presenter
Lieutenant-Colonel Tim Collins – made Iraq’s most memorable ‘eve-of-battle’ speech
Charlie Brooks – Broadcaster, ex-jockey and leading trainer
Gavin Pretor-Pinney – Author of cult bestseller ‘Cloudspotting’
Shelly von Strunckel – Astrologer
Richard Young – Photographer/ Paparazzo
Andrea Wulf – Writer on Great Houses and Gardens
Alexandra Shulman – Editor, British Vogue
Sir Peter Hall – Distinguished theatre, opera and film director
Alison Jackson – Artist/Photographer and film-maker
Dr Patrick Dixon Futurist & ‘Global Change Guru’
Peter Oborne – Political Editor, The Spectator, on lies in politics and the press
Zac Goldsmith – Environmentalist & Editor, Ecologist magazine
Ann Widdecombe – MP, broadcaster and writer
Kate Adie – BBC reporter & bestselling author
Octavius Black – Managing Director, The Mind Gym
Santa Montefiore – Bestselling romantic novelist
Sir Simon Jenkins – Editor and writer, author of ‘England’s Thousand Best Houses’
Janine di Giovanni – Foreign Correspondent on ‘Women at War’
Ian Marber MBANT Dip ION – Nutritionist, author, broadcaster and health journalist
Tom Parker Bowles – On his ‘Alphabet of Greed’
Simon Sebag Montefiore – Author of ‘Stalin: Court of the Red Tsar’
Jonathan Aitken – Former journalist, businessman, politician & prisoner
Robert McCrum – Literary Editor of The Observer
Libby Purves – Broadcaster, author and presenter of ‘Midweek’
Dr Mo Mowlam – On ‘Lessons learned in Northern Ireland’
John Sweeney – Journalist, on the Sally Clarke & women accused of killing their children
Kate Mosse – Author, broadcaster & co-founder of The Orange Prize for Women’s Fiction.
Lord Brocket – Formerly of Brocket Hall and “I’m a celebrity get me out of here!”
Sally Greene – Owner and Chief Executive of the Old Vic.
Boris Johnson – Editor of The Spectator & Tory MP for Henley.
John Sauven – Director of Campaigns, Greenpeace UK.
Benedict Allen – Author, explorer, TV presenter-filmmaker
Trevor Beattie – Creative Director, TBWA, responsible for ‘Wonderbra’ and ‘fcuk’ campaigns
Deirdre Morgan – On Numerology, Consciousness Reading and the Spiritual Contract;
Sir Bernard Ingham – On ‘The Wages of Spin
Howard Marks – Author, drug smuggler, a.k.a ‘Mr Nice’
Bamber Gascoigne – Author, ‘University Challenge’ host on www.historyworld.net
Allyson Stewart-Allen – Co-author of ‘Working with Americans’
Julian Fellowes – Actor & Oscar-winner for best original screenplay for ‘Gosford Park’
Brent HobermanCEO and co-founder of  lastminute.com
Tracy Edwards MBE – Yachtswoman and skipper of the Maiden
Karen Hale – Image consultant & fashion stylist
Antony Worrall Thompson MOGB, FCHIMA – restaurateur and television chef
Lucia van der Post – Writer and Consultant, on ‘The Meaning of Luxury’
Rosalind Savill – Director, The Wallace Collection
Carole Stone – Author & “Queen of Networking”
Martin Bell OBE – BBC war reporter, author and accidental MP
David Linley – On ‘Design & Detail in the Home’
Professor Lord Robert Winston – Head of Research and Development for Hammersmith Hospital, Labour peer and BBC Science presenter.
Major Ken Hames – Devised & led expedition for Channel 4’s ‘Jungle Janes’ documentary
Pete Cohen – Diet & fitness guru of ‘Lighten Up’
Diana Mawdsley – Freedom campaigner, mother of James Mawdsley (jailed for 415 days in Burma)
Julian Richards – Archaeologist & presenter of BBC’s ‘Meet the Ancestors’
Val Corbett & Joyce Hopkirk – Bestselling novelists who write together as Val Hopkirk
Robert Hardman – Royal correspondent on ‘the British monarchy in the 21st century?’
Kate Carr – Executive Director of Gilda’s Club, London
Celestria Noel – Author, Debrett’s New Guide to the Season, & former Editor of Jennifer’s Diary
Richard Desmond – Founder & Publisher of OK! magazine
Loyd Grossman – On ‘Museums for the New Millennium’
Patrick French – Author of ‘Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer’
Marjorie Wallace – Journalist, campaigner and founder of SANE
Will Hobhouse – Managing Director, Whittard plc
Jancis Robinson – Master of Wine, journalist and broadcaster, on ‘Women and Wine’
Lesley Regan – Professor Obstetrics & Gynaecology, on ‘What every woman needs to know’
Peter Lampl – Entrepreneur turned philanthropist & founder of The Sutton Trust
Gizi Pruthi – Teacher with the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University
Nigel West – Spy Expert, on ‘Garbo : The most successful double agent ever’
Robin Seiger – Author of ‘Natural Born Winners’
Nicola Horlick Joint Managing Director, Société Générale Asset Management UK
Wally Olins – Co-founder, Wolff Olins, on ‘The future of brands’
Lars Nittve – Director, The Tate Gallery of Modern Art at Bankside
Stephen Bayley – Design Consultant & former Creative Director of the Millennium Dome
Professor Steve Jones – Geneticist, on ‘What sex really means’
Mary Jo Jacobi  – Aide to both Presidents Reagan & Bush on ‘Inside American politics’
Philippa Rose – Founder of The Rose Partnership
Dr Simon Thurley – Director of the Museum of London
Brian Masters – Writer, speaking on Rosemary West; “She must have known”
Michael Palin – Author and actor, speaking on his chosen topic of ‘Indecision’
Tomasz Starzewski – Fashion designer
Andrew Neil – Editor, writer, broadcaster and business consultant on media matters
Patrick Spottiswoode – Artistic Director, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
Pierre Wulff – Master Perfumier
Professor Ian Kennedy – Professor of Medical Law and Ethics
Dr Matt Ridley – Author, zoologist
Clive James – TV personality and author
Sir James Goldsmith – Financier and politician
Melvyn Bragg – Author and presenter of the South Bank Show
Tom Stoppard – Playwright
Max Clifford – Publicist to the rich, famous and infamous
Lucy Roberts Member of the first British female expedition to the North Pole
Anita Roddick – Founder of The Body Shop
Ian Shuttleworth – Fund-raiser for The Jubilee Sailing Trust: £2 million raised in a year
Harriet Wait – Solicitor specialising in divorce and family law
Maurizio & Roberto Viel – Twin plastic surgeons who operate together
Lynne Franks – Chairman of Lynne Franks PR
Trevor McDonald – News at Ten anchor, on ‘the moral responsibilities of the media’
Jean Muir – Clothes Designer
Rosie Boycott – Editor of Esquire and founder of Spare Rib
Mark Leech – Ex prisoner and editor of ‘The Prisoners Handbook’
Rob Allen – Director of Policy, Research and Development, NACRO
Andy Tait – Police Training School, Bramshill.  Talk on managing emotion in the workplace
Alyce Faye Eichelberger – Psychotherapist
Dr Elizabeth Bryan – Medical Director, Multiple Births Foundation
Roger Cooper – Longest held hostage in Teheran
John Bird – Editor of The Big Issue
Alan Clark MP – Politician, historian and diarist speaking on “Why are ministers so dreary?”
Mary Asprey – Co-founder of The Missing Persons Bureau
Simon de Pury – Chairman and Chief Auctioneer, Sotheby’s Europe
Mark Constantine – Founder of ‘Cosmetics to Go’
Lynda Chalker – Former minister for Overseas Development
Canon Bernice Broggio – Vicar of Holy Trinity Church, Upper Tooting
John Aspinall – Conservationist (talk given on the subject of male dominance)
Charles Blackmore – Banker and explorer (Crossing of the Taklamakan Desert)
Professor Michael Crawford – Researcher for Little Foundation
Charles Glass – Journalist
Jackie Molton – Detective Chief Inspector of Police at Fulham
Sir David Frost – Broadcaster
Nicholas Coleridge – Managing Director, Conde Nast Publications
Fiona Price – Managing Director of Fiona Price & Partners, financial consultants
Sir Clive Sinclair – Inventor
Andrew Roberts – Author and historian
Jim Slater – Financier and author
Alistair Smith – Director, Really Useful Group
Barry Jones – Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon; Director of Craniofacial Surgery, Great Ormond St Hospital
Eve Pollard – Journalist, former editor of the Sunday Express
Richard Ingrams – Editor of the Oldie, founder / editor of Private Eye
Anton Mosimann – Chef & owner of Mosimann’s
Michael Poynder – Dowser and diviner. Talk on ‘The Lost Magic of Christianity’
Peter Jay – Former Ambassador to the USA
Peter Palumbo – Chairman of the Arts Council, property developer
Mike Malloy – Former editor-in-chief of the Mirror Group, author
Hugh Whitmore – Playwright
Lord Wolfson – Chairman of Next PLC
Renna Nezos – Head of the Institute of Graphology in London
Virginia Fass – Author
Sir Clement Freud – Former politician, author and food expert
Sir David Puttnam – Film producer
Robert Dick – Former money launderer for the Mafia and author of The Bag Man
Tony Buzan – Creator of the Mind Map Theory
Charles Jonscher – Founder of specialist management consultancy Central European Trust
John Hegarty – Creative Director Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Naim Attallah – Chairman Quartet Books
Auberon Waugh – Author and journalist
Sir Crispin Tickell – Chairman of The Royal Geographic Society
Earl of Haddington – Leading researcher into Corn Circle phenomena
Bill Roedy – Director of MTV, UK
Lord Gowrie – Chairman of Sothebys UK
James Saunders – Son of Ernest Saunders
Michael Shea – Head of Current Affairs, Hanson Trust
Professor David Eayrs – Highest ranking Martial Arts expert in the UK
Artom Tarasov – Russian politician and entrepreneur
Jim Jamieson – American politician and entrepreneur
Ariel Bruce – Independent social worker specialising in tracing birth parents of adopted children
Judge J Pickles – Judge, author
John Julius Norwich – Author, expert on Venice and Byzantine art
Jeffrey Archer – Author, Member of Parliament
Dr Peter Schiller – Jungian Therapist
Dr Andrew Coyle – Governor of Brixton Prison
Tom King – Former Cabinet Minister
Will Travers – Director of The Born Free Foundation
Lord Anthony St. John – Talk on South Africa
Virginia Bottomley – Former Secretary of State for National Heritage
Ian Rowland – Talk on powers of the mind, fact and fiction


The Kit Cat Club is delighted to have been able to make complimentary ‘First Timer’, discounted ‘Student and Early Career Women’ places available to women from the following organisations.

If you would like us to talk to your organisation about our Debentures programme, or for more information please contact Andrea or Alice at kitcatclub(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)outlook.com.

Associates graphic


The Kit Cat Club is the only all-female Club of its kind.

The Kit Cat Club, London’s premier speaker and discussion club for women, was founded in the late 80s.  It has progressed from early years of connecting women to ideas and inspirations from the worlds of arts, science, politics, economics and philosophy that they would not necessarily otherwise encounter in their lives and careers, to its current incarnation as London’s most long-standing and much-loved Speakers’ Club.  The Club, a not-for-profit organisation, exists simply to listen to and talk to interesting speakers, though incidentally and now more officially it has provided a useful network of contacts for its members, its speakers and particularly for women starting out in their careers.

The speakers (who can be male or female) are a mix of experts in their fields and celebrities, talking about a variety of subjects of interest to the all-female membership.  The Club has no fixed political, social or cultural agenda, so the speakers are as wide-ranging as the interests of the members themselves.

Club members are very varied and include policy makers, businesswomen, writers, artists, as well as lawyers, producers, students and entrepreneurs.  They are as varied as merchant bankers to mothers and prison governors to polar explorers.  Most of the members are aged between 25 and 45, although the Club is open to applications from any woman from 16 to 60.  Around fifty of the hundred-strong membership attend each meeting

The Club was founded in 1988 and is now run by the Alice Sherwood (Chairman), Erica Arcudi, Anna Shevkopylas, Audrey Backhouse and Claire Chaldecott.

As well as the monthly speaker meetings, the Club holds an annual party to thank its speakers and members; an event to which men can be invited as guests.



We are delighted that you are interested in finding out about membership of the Kit Cat Club. We aim to make it as straightforward and open a process as we can.

Natalie Raeched at kitcatclubmembership(Replace this parenthesis with the @ sign)outlook.com runs the membership administration and happy to help with any queries. If you’d like to talk to her or any of the Committee to find out more about the Club, please do drop us a line as we are always happy to talk about the Club.

To apply, all you need to do is fill out this form, (yes, we put our application forms on Eventbrite, but don’t let that worry you as no payment is required for filling in the form!).  BTW we have road-tested this form and it should take you around 5 minutes to complete.  As soon as a place becomes available Natalie will let you know.  Please, please don’t pay any money into Eventbrite until she does so.

We ask that applications include the name of an existing member who is happy to propose you for membership, and ideally (if possible, but don’t worry if not) the name of one or more of the Kit Cat Club committee that you have met. This is not because of any vetting procedure, quite the opposite. The more we know you, the more those Committee members will be able to introduce you to members and speakers and help you become a full and participating member of the Club.  Similarly, we think it would be bonkers to take you on as a member until you’d be to at least one, and preferably more, of our events.  So, if you don’t know any members (and why should you?!), we do sometimes have spare places at events which would be a great opportunity to meet you.  Email Natalie to find out more.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Alice, Kimberley, Audrey, Mary, Claire, Erica and Anna

The Kit Cat Club Committee