|Engraving of Pall Mall showing St. James Palace by Thomas Bowles, 1763.|
UK Government Art Collection
Pall Mall is named after a game formerly played in the area. The name derives from the Italian pallamaglio, which literally means 'ball-mallet'. It then became Paille-Maille before it's present form. Samuel Pepys records seeing the game played by the King in nearby St. James park in the seventeenth century.
Most of the property there is now owned by the Crown and the area is famous for the location of many long-standing gentlemen's clubs such as The Oxford & Cambridge Club, the Athenaeum and the Royal Automobile Club.
Gentleman's clubs evolved from the 17th century coffee houses as meeting places where men could find refuge from their womenfolk. However, most of the exclusive gentlemens’ clubs there today date from the 19th century.
The Royal Automobile Club, Pall Mall. (Picture: EPR Architects)