The Pen and Palette Club was founded in 1900 by a group of professional men interested in art, literature, music, architecture, drama and related subjects. For more than a century we owned a four storey John Dobson designed building in Higham Place, besides the Laing Art gallery, with a live-in cook and housekeeper. The Club opened several days a week for those members working in town, when lunches were long and leisurely, and members might enjoy a game of cards or snooker. Once or twice a month we would hold a dinner at which there would be a visiting speaker, often of national renown.
Times change, and by the end of the 20th century long lunches were no more; and we could no longer afford a cook and the upkeep of a nearly 200 year old building was straining the Club‘s finances. In 2011 the house was sold and the club moved its activities to the Mansion House (given to the City by Sir Arthur Munro Sutherland) on Fernwood Road, Jesmond. Soon afterwards ladies were admitted as full members.
We continue to meet once a month for lunch or dinner and to hear a guest speaker on a topic of cultural interest. Once a year our painters display their work and the writers entertain us with their poetry and prose. The painters have outings and there are other social activities such as theatre visits and musical evenings given in the club by invited local professional players. The Christmas entertainment is always a very popular evening.
The club has a membership of about 80 but would welcome new members interested in the arts (though not necessarily as performers). The annual fee is £50 and the cost of a subsidised meal is £20. The Mansion House is licensed with a bar.
Our founders established a number of arcane rituals which help to make our meetings lively and filled with a good conversation. It is our belief that the best way to sample what the Club offers is to attend as a guest at a lunch or dinner, which ever suits you. We like to think that to know us is to love us.
If you know a member of the club then the way is clear; ask to be invited as a guest at one of our events in our calendar. Otherwise contact the secretary or call (07810) 278296. We look forward to seeing you.