Bullingdon Club back with a bang

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An Oxford student involved in the setting off of fireworks at The Bridge nightclub two weeks ago is reportedly a member of the Bullingdon Club.

Orme Alexander Clarke, a student at St Benet’s, was confirmed by a staff member at Bridge to have been named by police in connection with the incident.

Sources close to Clarke have suggested that he is a member of the infamous dining society.

The firework incident occurred in the early hours of Friday 8th February, when two pyrotechnics were let off in the nightclub’s smoking area.

A Thames Valley Police spokesperson said: “We were called to the nightclub at 12.20am Friday 8th February with a report of a man setting off fireworks in the smoking area of the club.

“No-one was reported injured, and no property damaged. A 20-year-old man was given an £80 fixed penalty notice for letting off fireworks in a public place.”

A staff member at Bridge then confirmed that the police had told them that Clarke was involved in the incident.

The Bullingdon Club has gained a reputation for being one of the most secretive and controversial societies in Oxford. All-male and reputed only to consist of 12 members at any one time, it is notorious for its dinners, which have been known to result in ‘trashing’ of restaurants. High-profile former members include David Cameron and Boris Johnson.

Clarke’s Facebook profile lists his uncle as Sir Tobias Clarke, Baronet, an alumnus of Christ Church, and his cousin as Sir Tobias’s daughter, Augusta. Sir Tobias is one of the Vice-Presidents of the Standing Council of the Baronetage.

The disturbance took place just a week after the disastrous fire at the Kiss nightclub in Brazil, which started as a result of using outdoor pyrotechnics indoors. At least 239 people were killed and 169 others injured.

A St John’s student observed: “I was a little bit drunk at the time, and I was enjoying a cigarette.

“I heard a whizz and then a small bang and I saw some blue sparks a couple of metres away. I didn’t think it was that dangerous or that big.”

Claudia Hill, a student present on the night, said: “I didn’t witness the incident, but I think it’s awful in light of the Brazil tragedy.”

A student who was in Bridge on the night said she had not realised the incident had occurred.  “I didn’t see anything while I was there. I didn’t even find out it had happened until afterwards. I don’t think most people knew about it.”

Dan Enzer, a St John’s fresher, also did not directly witness the incident, but commented: “Yeah I don’t remember that, but well played for smuggling explosives into Bridge.

It’s harder to jump the barrier than get a firework in.”

One anonymous student commented on his exclusion from the Bullingdon: “I’m still waiting for my invitation. Frankly I wouldn’t notice if they trashed my room, I don’t think it would make any difference.”

Another student complained: “It’s because of people like them that I can’t wear white tie around town anymore.”

Clarke is a student at St Benet’s Hall, a Permanent Private Hall on St Giles. The Hall is the only constituent body of the University to solely admit male students. According to its website, Clarke is the JCR Committee’s Food Liason Officer.

Orme Clarke declined to comment.


Corrections & Clarifications

This article originally contained a statement that Orme Alexander Clarke had burned a £50 note in front of a tramp. The Oxford Student wishes to retract this statement on the basis that, subsequent to publication, it has emerged that the evidence does not substantiate the statement. We apologise for the harm and damage to reputation caused.