There is nothing new under the sun so it is not surprising that men have been going their own way for many centuries. What follows is an absurdly simplified history of MGTOW in London.
THE LIVERY COMPANIES
London is actually two cities and not one. The very center of London is known as the City or the Square Mile and is governed under an extraordinary medieval system that guarantees endless theater to the residents.
The City (not to be confused with London) is largely run by 108 'Livery Companies' that were originally formed as trade associations-cum-trade unions and have existed since the 14th century. Many of the livery companies represent trades that have long died out (such as the Longbow makers) and yet the Livery companies persist as a system of voluntary governance. This allows City to remain internationally competitive because the system of government is based largely upon voluntary contribution rather than taxation. These companies were concerned with the education of boys into a particular trade and their initiation into manhood. They became so wealthy that they became charitable institutions that were capable of planning and financing major projects from their own resources. Here is an article from the Daily Telegraph that estimates total assets to be about two billion pounds.
The Dyers and Vintners count the swans on the Thames each year. This is known as 'swan upping' and seems to make them happy.
This is the Drapers hall. Each of the Livery companies have spectacular accommodation and act as a sort of social club as well as a system of government. They spend much of their time banqueting but also do a great deal of good work. Members of livery companies are expected to give their time and money in return for influence. It resembles the original Greek conception of democracy by which citizenship was something to be earned.
Goldsmiths hall is one of the most grand. This is what the minimal government advocated by MGTOW would look like.
Livery companies remain overwhelmingly male and resemble US student fraternities with their emphasis on initiation, food and drink.
This is the hall of the Worshipful Company of Butchers. A good place for a steak?
The Lord Mayor of London (who has nothing to do with Boris Johnson- the Mayor of London) is not paid. In fact he pays for he honour of the job!
In 1717 the Grand Lodge of Freemasonry was formed in London- and freemasonry in its modern form was created. This organization was open to men and sought to initiate men into manhood through ritual and symbolism. Freemasonry also sought to give its members a degree of social security through its charities. Although Freemasonry is commonly seen as an aristocratic pastime it was originally a trade union of skilled stonemasons working on the cathedrals of Europe. Later on Freemasons came to be associated with enlightenment thinking and were the bane of the establishment that eventually came to dominate it.
The original 'lodges' were hostels where stone masons would live communally rather like the 19th century American bunkhouse. They would provide cheap lodging, companionship and education for the upwardly mobile stonemason. Many masons would also have been single or living away from home and so the lodges may also have functioned rather as the modern day 'lair' of pickup artists does today.
The following photographs are from the Freemasons Hall in London.
Modern Freemasonry has evolved very far from its original roots as a trade union but belongs to the same family of organizations.
Gentlemen's clubs also evolved around the same time that the Freemasons and the Livery companies were evolving into their present form. The early 1700's seemed to be an age where men were looking for structure and belonging. Gentlemen's clubs provided both these things and were also highly aspirational in that they generally promoted intellectual debate or the pursuit of the arts. There are many such clubs in London although most of the established ones are in Pall Mall which is just off Picadilly circus.
Most 'gentleman's' clubs are actually mixed sex although many of them maintain the serious minded atmosphere they once had. There is a great deal of snobbery around some of these clubs as invitation is on an invitation only basis. My own choice (once I have a little cash) would be the Royal and Overseas which is pictured at the top of the post. This would make an excellent lair as it has a cheap (by West End standards) hotel and is close to the night-life. It is also one of the few that would accept me as a member!
It is possible to see the club as a sort of upmarket bunkhouse or hostel for the gentleman going his own way. This photo is from the RAC club (sometimes called the Really Awful Club).
Freemasonry and the gentlemen's clubs went upmarket throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and as a result skilled tradesmen formed the Trade Union movement. We must remember that each of the institutions that I have mentioned was formed by the same class of people- skilled male workers in search of security and community. Each of these institutions moved closer to the centre of power and were absorbed by it.
The Livery companies became a system of government.
The Freemasons became an extension of the establishment.
Gentlemen's clubs became mixed sex and a part of the establishment.
Trade Unions no longer serve their members but exist to promote a socialist agenda that many disagree with.
Finally we have an organization I am a member of- the Ancient Order of Foresters. This group has been hanging about for many centuries and combines tax free savings plans, charitable and social activities. It may be seen as a poor man's Freemasonry or even an alternative to trade union membership as it offers free legal advice and other benefits unions typically offer. Naturally, this is a mixed sex organization but some of the local 'courts' have wonderful names such as 'Grand Patriarchy' that meant I just had to join!
Everything I have written is an oversimplification but basically right. Do not take it too seriously as a history as I have left 99% out.