Royal Air Force Club
The Royal Air Force Club, or RAF Club in short-form, is a club located at 128 Piccadilly, London. Membership is open to men and women who hold, or have held, commissions in the RAF, PMRAFNS, Reserve Forces and Commonwealth and friendly foreign air forces. The Chairman is Air Marshal Sue Gray CB, OBE, RAF.
|Headquarters||Clubhouse occupied since 1922|
|Royal Air Force officers|
The Royal Air Force Club was founded in 1918 when the first Lord Cowdray donated funds to obtain a permanent building which would house the Club. The buildings, still in use today, were acquired by the middle of 1919 (the Piccadilly frontage was originally the Ladies Lyceum Club, while the rear half, facing Old Park Lane, was stables). Between 1919 and 1921 extensive reconstruction took place supervised by architect Maurice Webb and largely financed by Lord Cowdray. On 2 January 1922 the Club was fully opened to Members although it was not officially opened by the Duke of York until 24 February 1922. On 12 March 1922 the Club was visited by King George V and Queen Mary. This association with the Royal Family continues to this day, Queen Elizabeth II being the Club's Patron.
The Club currently offers 93 bedrooms, conference and banqueting spaces, a Library, Business Centre and a range of different dining experiences. Members and guests can enjoy an elegant lunch or dinner in the magnificent Dining Room, or a pint and snack in the Running Horse Tavern, the pub within the Club, or a relaxed afternoon tea or drink in the Cowdray Lounge, with exceptional views over Green Park. Families are also welcomed, with family friendly and accessible rooms and children's dining options available. Development and refurbishment has continued at the Club on an ongoing basis, with a rolling programme of improvements, including bedroom enhancements, implemented for the benefit of all members. In recent years the Running Horse, Churchill Bar, Dining Room, Cowdray Lounge and Ballroom have seen further refurbishments and as the Club moves towards its 100-year Centenary in 2018, building work is in progress to create an additional 17 bedrooms, Gym and Business Centre. Other member benefits include a programme of social events, from excursions to dinners with guest speakers and use of over 50 reciprocal clubs worldwide.
As of 2017, a year's membership subscription costs half of one day's wages for serving (from £42.50), or former serving (retired) RAF officers (£155.00). For non-RAF personnel, affiliate membership starts at £170 plus joining fee. Non-RAF personnel who are eligible to apply for membership include those in the aerospace industry who are Fellows of the Royal Aeronautical Society (FRAeS).