The Little Ship Club is a yacht club in London. It was founded in 1926 by a group of yachtsmen for the purpose of providing training and lectures over the winter months. The club operates from its riverside clubhouse at Bell Wharf on the River Thames, and is the only one operating from within the City of London.
The Little Ship Club shares its current space with the City Livery Club since 2010. Joint dinners and other events are sponsored on occasion to promote interest and friendship between the two Club tenants at the Bell Wharf Lane location.
The club’s inaugural meeting was at The Ship restaurant in London on 5 November 1926. Notable founder members included Claud Worth, Maurice Griffiths, and Higley Halliday. The training function of the club was so successful that, by 1936, they were training members of the Royal Naval Supplementary Volunteer Reserve Force (RNSVR). As a result, the First Sea Lord invited the club to apply for a defaced blue ensign. This is the only known instance of such an invitation being made. The close link with the RNSVR led to Little Ship Club members taking part in the World War II evacuation of Dunkirk in which the military commandeered hundreds of private “little” ships to bring troops from land to larger navy vessels that could not pull in close to shore. The club still includes what is possibly one of the original Dunkirk Little Ships, Sheemaun. Two defaced blue ensigns that were recovered from the beach at Dunkirk are displayed at the club.