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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
18th January 1973 Born today: Crispian Mills, London, vocalist/guitarist (Kula Shaker)
18th January 1950 Christopher Fry's Venus Observed, premieres in London
18th January 1884 General Charles Gordon departs London for Khartoum
Breakfast at the Wolseley
The classic European cafe that used to be a Wolseley showroom.
Location: 160 Piccadilly, London, W1J9EB
Description: The Wolseley is a caf-restaurant in the grand European tradition located in St James on Londons most famous of boulevards, Piccadilly.
160 Piccadilly is a Grade II Listed Building.
In 1921, Wolseley Motors Limited commissioned the architect, William Curtis Green, to design a prestigious car showroom in Londons West End. He drew on Venetian and Florentine influences and made the interior very atmospheric with its grand pillars, arches and stairways.
The Wolseley cars were displayed on the marble floor and cost between 225-1300. Unfortunately, the cars did not sell well enough and by 1926 the Company was bankrupt.
Barclays Bank acquired the building and the branch opened for the first time in April 1927. William Curtis Green was recalled to install offices and a banking counter retaining the Japanese lacquer theme. He also designed specialised furniture including a post box and stamp machine, which is on display today. Barclays remained until 1999.
Chris Corbin and Jeremy King secured the site in July 2003 and its restoration and renovation was overseen by David Collins Architects.
The Wolseley opened in November 2003.
This was where the late great Lucian Freud dined most nights. On his death in July 2011, they covered his favourite corner table with a black cloth and lit a solitary candle.