Garrick Club considering vote on allowing women entry for first time in

While many high-profile members that time indicated they would vote for change, it is believed a number with more progressive views still voted to keep the club men-only. Along with other private member’s clubs White’s, Boodle’s and Pratt’s – The Garrick is one of only a few male-only spaces left in public life. One member told The Telegraph that while decisions were taken by secret ballot at The Garrick, the vote would never pass.”The difference with a secret ballot is that you can always blame somebody else,” he said. Another member dismissed the idea of the vote, saying he believed the issue of The Garrick’s membership gained undue public attention because of its high-profile membership.”When people join the club, they know what they’re getting,” the member said. “A men’s club for men. Just like women who join a women’s club can expect a club for women.”Yet The Mail on Sunday claimed other members had reported that the prevailing mood may have changed enough since 2015 to see the vote passed. “The role of women in the theatre should be recognised. I think there has been a huge swing. There is a great feeling that this is something we need to look at,” a source told the paper. The Garrick Club is understood to be considering a vote on whether to allow women entry for the first time in its 187-year history. As one of the last remaining members clubs in Britain maintaining a male-only policy, it has faced calls to diversify. Members at meetings behind closed doors are said to have discussed the possibility of a ballot to decide whether or not to allow women into the club. However, insiders have questioned whether the vote would have any chance of reaching the two-thirds majority necessary to pass. They say the make-up of the club has not changed enough since a vote in 2015 that saw only 50.5 per cent of members vote in favour of admitting women. Now it is believed a meeting has been held by the club’s committee to discuss whether to hold another vote in the new year. The Garrick, which was founded in 1831 and named after the leading 18th-century actor David Garrick, has always had strong connections with the theatre world.It counts Stephen Fry, Damian Lewis, Hugh Bonneville and Michael Gove among its members. BBC journalist John Simpson said of the vote the last time around: “Nobody in The Garrick feels this is the end of the road”.  “At the last meeting those members who were anti women members were vitriolic, vicious and unbeleivably rude and really unpleasant.”Whether the vote will go ahead is a matter of question. It is believed a five-year moratorium may have been put into place on the matter following the last vote.The issue has cropped up time and again among the club membership since as far back as the 1970s. While women are allowed to visit the club on Garrick Street as members, many of the rooms remain male-only. One female visitor said it was only in the last five years that she has felt comfortable using the main staircase. Traditionally women were only allowed to use the back staircase.The Garrick could not be reached yesterday for comment. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.