After his victory at the battle of Waterloo the Duke of Wellington returned to London covered in glory. The city was ready to erect statues to him, but what he really wanted was some steps to help him get back onto his horse after a massive carb-heavy lunch at his club. Here on the kerbside in front of the portico of the Atheneum the Iron Duke’s steps still stand. The club was named for Athene, the goddess of knowledge, and she still exists in a golden frieze over the columns.
The Atheneum was founded in 1824 and had many famous members including Kipling, Dickens and Sir Winston Churchill. Nearby at no. 106 is the Travelers club, founded in 1822. Officers returning from the Napoleonic wars could stay here, as could foreign travelers. Further on, the Reform Club became the location from which Phineas Fogg started and ended his journey in Jules Verne’s book Around the World in Eighty days. Spoiler alert; he won his bet by realising that he had not counted the extra hour afforded by the international dateline.