Monday, 9 August 2010
William Crockford had been a fishmonger at Temple Bar, one of the portals into the City of London, that used to be in Fleet Street and is now marked by a memorial. As a result of significant horse race betting, he managed to gather enough together to build, in 1828, what is claimed to be the world's first purpose-built casino and club at what is now 50 St James's Street (the building is still there). Nathaniel Pratt was a steward in this club and he later opened Pratt's Club around the corner, in circumstances more fully described in my forthcoming Book II. Gambling has been, at various times, illegal in Britian and the club did not survive as a casino. However, on the easying of the laws against gambling, following John Aspinall's campaign in the 1960s, the club re-opened at 30 Curzon Street, Mayfair, where its Adam dining room (shown in the picture, courtesy of the Genting Group), is, as I have said before, one of the nearly hidden glories of London. Membership of the club is after consideration of a written application.
Left click the photograph for a better view.
Posted by NJS at 09:29