The University Pitt Club - Member Review

The University Pitt Club – George Greenbury – February 2020

The University Pitt Club is a charming and historic set of rooms in the centre of Cambridge. Enter through its unassuming facade on Jesus Lane, and find yourself transported back in time. A mirrored corridor and winding, windowless staircase leads you upstairs into the heart of the clubhouse. The walls are festooned with antique Spy portraits of former members, from royalty to Rothschilds, and there are a wealth of artefacts inside as well: almost half a million pounds worth of nineteenth century silverware and framed letters of William Pitt the Younger, after whom the club is named.

Steve Morgan, the club’s ex-military house manager, makes you feel instantly at ease, and is responsible for arranging delicious lunches and dinners most days of the week (book early to avoid disappointment). He runs this student members’ club like a junior officers’ mess, and this is where the club’s charm can be found: it blends a traditional setting with a bohemian student membership. Cambridge’s bright young things stumble in off the street to chat about big ideas in this carefree setting, enjoy a coffee, and then maybe nip off to the library. There is an effervescent atmosphere: conversation bubbles and fizzes, and friendly faces come and go with a cheery wave.

I was lucky enough to enjoy a dinner at the club during my stay: a delightful three course meal, with an outrageously well cooked rack of lamb and a sumptuous sticky toffee pudding. The chatter around the single club table, which seats about thirty (and was loaned by the London Beefsteak Club in the 1850s), took me back to my own university days: light, wide-eyed, interested in and excited about the world. It’s a wonderfully fun and intimate setting, with a good number of both male and female members (since the admission of female members a couple of years ago). If you’re visiting Cambridge, you must drop in. Have afternoon tea, or a gin and tonic. Or stay for dinner! You won’t regret it.