London’s Closed Rooms
This is where I’d Like To Have Dinner. Just once, to say I did.
It’s the Guildhall, London, which has been the corporate home of the City of London for eight hundred years. Surrounded by statues of Nelson, Wellington, Chatham, Pitt, Churchill, and Gog and Magog (the 1953 versions), the legendary giants who founded London in the iron Age, it still hosts dinners in its Great Hall.
London seems to have hundreds of these grand closed rooms, mostly used these days for government dinners and corporate events. I’m researching it because it features in the opening chapters of ‘Bryant & May and the Invisible Code’, out later next year. I do think they should open all such venues just for a week one year so that the general public can dine inside them.
There are dozens of guilds in London, from the Tallowmakers to the Coopers, Feltmakers and Apothecaries (I went to the Royal Leatherseller’s school). More and more grand venues are slowly opening their doors, but many remain buildings tantalisingly out of reach. Every time I have to go to an event it’s at Grosvenor House, the most depressing venue in London.