Some time before 1935 a Bridge Club was formed in Edinburgh by a group of enthusiasts. After a short time there was friction within the Club and one of the factions decided to break away and form a new club. One of the secessionists was Faie Irvine, who with her husband Alec lived at 36 Royal Terrace. Her sister occupied the basement flat and Mrs Irvine let out rooms in the house. (Bob Sutherland remembered that Hugh Kelsey once rented what is now the Steward's flat.) She offered the new club the use of one of her rooms for its games. The name of "Carlton" was proposed by Bill Brown because of the Carlton Club in London, and the proximity to Carlton Terrace, thus the Carlton Bridge Club was born. In 1937 the Club was incorporated as a Company limited by guarantee.
Time passed, the Club grew in size, more frequent use was made of the house and more accommodation was made available. Faie Irvine died in 1961 and Alec Irvine, who for many years was Honorary Bar Secretary overseeing the Wines Committee, continued to lease rooms to the Club. Eventually in 1965 (after the Club had looked for new premises and had even purchased premises in Annandale Street and which were fortunately resold immediately at no loss) Alec Irvine sold the premises to the Club for £7000 but retained what was the Steward’s flat on a nominal rent and with the proviso that he could sublet. Until his death in 1984 Alec floated between Edinburgh and his niece in Australia. At this point it was decided to renovate the Alec’s flat for the use of a resident steward who would take over the catering as a franchise. The first rooms to be used were designated numerically and that is why we have a slightly unusual sequence of room numbers. Apart from redecoration and modernisation the building is basically as it was built.
At the end of June 2008, the club moved for the first time in its history to new purpose built premises at 36B Warriston Gardens, premises which will share common areas with Goldenacre Bowling Club.
The Club has always had a nucleus of Scottish internationalists in its membership from Bill Brown in the 1930s to Les Steel, Dave Walker, Malcolm Cuthbertson, Ken Baxter, Roy Bennett, David Liggat, Iain Sime Derek Sanders and Liz McGowan in the 2000s.