Since the release of the film The Riot Club in 2014, much attention has been placed on Oxbridge’s secret societies. Specifically, drinking societies for the elite! Although at Footprint Tours we do not come across these secret clubs on our Cambridge Walking Tour, they are still very much a predominant feature of underground Cambridge life! With the likes of David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson counting themselves ex members of these exclusive clubs, we give you the inside scoop as to what our British leaders were really up to before they entered the political stage. Here are Oxbridge’s 8 most outrageous secret societies:
8. Cambridge’s The Misfits – 5/10
- An anomaly to the typical all male clubs, this all-female society, established in the 1980s, aims to emulate some of their male counterparts through their focus on dining. These females use their status to pick the university’s most attractive sports players to attend their dinners.
- The most recent initiation, according to The Daily Mail, involved consuming a raw cabbage and three pints of ale within three minutes.
7. Cambridge’s The Pitt Club – 5/10
- Named after the former prime minister William Pitt, this club counts Eddie Redmayne as one of its famous ex members. It is perhaps one of the more respectable secret societies listed as it does not encourage profanity or violence. Just over a year ago the club opened its membership up to women.
- However, that does not make it exempt from past misdemeanors. It currently rents its bottom floor to Pizza Express. There has been many reported incidents of male members propositioning female waitresses at the end of shifts. In addition, it’s exclusivity means that the club only accepts extremely privileged individuals with unlimited wealth.
6. Oxford’s Zenith Club – 7/10
- Founded in 1902, the Zentith’s Club’s inaugural dinner led to a mass brawl between fellow Zenith members. They destroyed the property they were based in and were fined and expelled from Oxford for this incident.
- They are known amongst official Oxford dining societies as creating the legacy of ‘one dinner, ten members, ten permanent expulsions’
5. Oxford’s Black Cygnets – 7/10
- As part of St Hugh’s College, the club was condemned in Michaelmas 2013 after planning a misogynistic ‘fox hunt’ event.
- Male students chose female freshers they deemed the most attractive. The members then planned to chase these women, who would be dressed up as foxes, through Oxford town.
4. Oxford’s Steamers – 8/10
- This drinking secret society counts Ed Balls as its famous founder.
- Initiation activities included: eating raw squid and running naked round the university grounds covered in goose fat.
- The Steamers got in trouble when emails listing the ‘fitties’ of their college were leaked. In the emails, they made disparaging remarks about some of the women in their college. These included: ‘only if we’re desperate’ and ‘buy condoms’.
3. Cambridge’s Ferretz – 9/10
- Initiation includes consuming 80 units of alcohol along with a bottle of port being drunk through a condom.
- Other traditions include: stripping naked and covering your private parts in ultra spicy sauce; drinking tequila from 10am until you pass out. At Footprint Tours, we are pleased to confirm that we have not come across these profanities on our Cambridge Walking Tour as of yet!
2. Oxford’s The Bullingdon Club – 9/10
- Perhaps the most infamous of all secret drinking societies, this society counts David Cameron, Boris Johnson and George Osborne as one of their most famous members. This club was arguably the basis to the play ‘Posh’ and its film version ‘The Riot Club’.
- It is only open to male public school members.
- Notable actions: in 1927 they smashed 400 windows at Christ Church college and in 2004 smashed 17 bottles of wine and crockery at the 15th Century White Hart.
1. Oxford’s Piers Gaveston Society – 10/10
- Certainly not as famous as the Bullingdon, the Piers Gaveston Society has long been seen as the most dangerous of all of Oxford’s secret societies. Hugh Grant counts himself as one of their famous members.
- The club is made up of 12 male public school members. To each ball they each invite 20 guests, these are typically the most attractive girls.
- At one recent summer ball, guests were given only 72 hours’ notice to present themselves at a hired coach, which drove them deep into the countryside. Guests arrived to find a live sex show on a stage.
- Their parties are fuelled with illegal drugs, such as MDMA, ketamine and cocaine, in addition to champagne and caviar. Public copulation is also a frequent feature of their parties.
If you wish to find out more information about these exclusive clubs, feel free to make an appointment with Footprint Tours for our Cambridge Walking Tour today!
(Sources: The Daily Mail, The Cambridge Student, The Telegraph, Tatler. Sites / Images: The Telegraph, The Daily Mail)