Blades Club

Blades is a fictional London gentlemen's club appearing and referenced in several of Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels, most notably Moonraker.

Blades is situated on “Park Street” (correct name Park Place) off St James's Street, at the approximate location of the real-life club Pratt's. Based on Fleming’s notes as well as details of the club included in the novels, Blades is an amalgam of several nearby clubs, several of which Fleming mentions by name in various Bond books. These include:

Blades was founded between 1774 and 1776 and is of a calibre equal to or greater than that of any other club. In fact, Fleming writes that during Blades’s annual closings, its members have to “pig it” at the prestigious White’s or Boodle’s. It excels in terms of member accommodations, staff, food, and furnishings, and its members include some of the finest card players in the world. The club has only 200 members, and there are only two qualifications for being elected a member: behaving like a gentleman and being able to “show” ₤100,000 (£1,921,689 in 2018 pounds) in cash or gilt-edged securities. M. is a member of Blades, and James Bond, though not a member, is an occasional guest. M. often lunches at Blades, usually eating a spare meal of grilled Dover sole and "the ripest spoonful he could gouge from the club Stilton," and always pays his bill with a five-pound note in order to receive newly minted notes and coins as change, a club tradition. As a favour to M., Blades also stocks a very bad Algerian red wine, to which he is partial, which he calls "Infuriator", but the club refuses to put it on the wine list.

Blades plays a prominent role in the novel Moonraker. M, along with the club chairman Basildon, suspect another member, Sir Hugo Drax, to be cheating at bridge. Because Drax is involved in a nuclear missile project crucial to national security, M and Basildon wish to avoid a scandal. Because of Bond’s skill at cards, M invites him to Blades to discern Drax’s method of cheating. When Bond finds that Drax is using a shiner (i.e., a highly polished silver cigarette case that allows him to read the cards as he deals), M. and Basildon go along with a plan of Bond’s to teach Drax a lesson and discourage him from further cheating. During a very high-stakes bridge game, Bond switches in a cold deck, making Drax believe he has an extraordinarily good hand that in reality allows Bond to achieve a grand slam, costing Drax ₤15,000.

This page was last edited on 28 April 2018, at 18:02.
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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