In the Seventies, I was a lowly invoice clerk for Strand Hotels, working in an office in Sherwood Street, I think.
Anyhoo, we used to get a free lunch (who said there was no such thing?) at the staff canteen at the Regent Palace Hotel (one of the group).
And it was while exploring the basement of that building, to while away a few minutes before I was due back at the office – that I came across a MAGICAL PLACE!
It was a disused restaurant. It had some tatty canteen-style furniture, under dust sheets – but it was the ROOM that staggered me. It was a bit dingy – but it was PURE ART DECO.
It had a staircase and a small bandstand. All it would have needed, to turn it into a PRIMO RETRO NIGHTSPOT, would have been a coat of white paint, some decent period furniture – and an eight-piece band, doing Jack Hylton arrangements. Then it would have been an AUTHENTIC Art Deco club.
They could have knocked out an entrance into Glasshouse Street, hung up a neon sign – and blitzed “Blitz” (a “trendy” restaurant where WW2 memorabilia, obtained cheaply from auctions, hung from the walls – and they charged twenty quid for sausages and mash).
But no-one would have listened to ME (they didn’t in 1991 – when I said there had been a CLIMATE SHIFT). And even if they had, I’d have got NOTHING – so I kept silent.
And now, the Regent Palace Hotel – with its tatty Wild West-themed bar/restaurant – is GONE. And with it, the opportunity for a GENUINE “themed” restaurant experience.
It could have been like that house in Bradford, where an old recluse died and people discovered it was an Art Deco TIME-CAPSULE, with original panelling on the walls, doors and everything – it’s a MUSEUM, now.
However, one cannot help but wonder if they HAD opened an authentic Art Deco restaurant in it – would they later have been ALLOWED to DEMOLISH the building?!
For more on “The Boss” – and other gems from the Art Deco era – hit http://www.youtube.com/user/ArtDecoChap?feature=mhee