The original rules of 1764 forbade membership of any other London club except 'old' White's, but this rule was quickly repealed, certainly before 1772. Edward Gibbon became a member in 1776 and in a letter of that year he describes the use which he made of the club: 'Town grows empty and this house, where I have passed very agreable [sic] hours, is the only place which still unites the flower of the English youth.
Heavy gambling immediately became prevalent and in 1770 Horace Walpole commented that 'the gaming at Almack's which has taken the pas of White's, is worthy the decline of our Empire, or Commonwealth. The style of living though somewhat expensive is exceedingly pleasant and notwithstanding the rage of play I have found more entertaining and even rational society here than in any other Club to which I belong.' In September 1777 Brooks acquired from Henry Holland the younger a site on the corner of Park Place and St.
The first entry, dated 1 January 1762, states that 'William Almack has taken the large new House West of his now dwelling House in Pall Mall for the sole use of a Society Established upon the following Rules.' Until 10 February 1762 membership was to be open to anyone signing his name in the book; thereafter election was to be by ballot, which was always to be held 'in Parliament Time' and one black ball excluded; the total membership was to be limited to 250.
After 10 February the members were to appoint thirteen managers, 'each of whom are to have a power to keep order and make the Rules of the Society to be observed'; they were to serve for one year and then each manager was 'to appoint a Successor for the ensuing Year'.
So far as Almack himself was concerned, the change was clearly an important one, for in the autumn of 1764 he did not renew his tavern licence, and in August The Gentleman's Magazine reported that 'Almack's is no longer to be used as a public tavern but is to be set apart for the reception of a set of gentlemen, who are to meet after the manner of the minority at Wildman's. During the whole of this period Almack was the proprietor, the subscriptions were paid to him and the club was known as Almack's.
The rules of the society could only be changed by the unanimous vote of at least thirty members.
The annual subscription was to be two guineas, to be paid 'to Almack for the House'.
In the will of his brother John Almack (died 1762) there is a legacy to his married sister, Ann Tebb, who lived at Sand Hutton in the parish of Thirsk, Yorkshire; and William Almack later bequeathed an annuity of twenty pounds to his niece Ann Tebb.
The parish registers of Thirsk show that the Almack family had been established there since 1629.