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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
7th December 1980 Chelsea footballer John Terry was born in Barking.
7th December 1889 Gilbert and Sullivans Gondoliers, premieres in London
7th December 1811 The first Ratcliff Murders occur; of Tim & Celia & Tim Jr Marr at 29 Ratcliff Highway.
7th December 1783 The Theatre Royal first opened in Covent Garden.
This hotel is where the first rules of boxing were written.
Location: 68 Regent Street
Description: This magnificent Grade I listed building was the renowned Cafe Royal for 150 years until 2008. It is being turned into a boutique hotel including 6 historic suites protected by their architectural significance.
It was started in 1865 by Daniel Nicholas Thvenon, a French wine merchant, fleeing France due to bankruptcy. He changed his name to Daniel Nicols. Under his son, the Cafe Royal flourished and was considered at one point to have the greatest wine cellar in the world.
By the 1890s the Caf Royal had become the place to see and be seen. Patrons include Oscar Wilde, Graham Greene, Aleister Crowley, Virginia Woolf, Winston Churchill, Nol Coward, Brigitte Bardot, Sir Max Beerbohm, George Bernard Shaw, Sir Jacob Epstein, Mick Jagger, Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Diana, Princess of Wales.
David Bowie held his 1973 retirement party here.
Some of the first boxing rules were first written down in the building by the National Sporting Club, which held black-tie dinners before fights. The boxing ring was removed and a swimming pool will replace it in the new hotel.
In 1894 the night porter was found with two bullets in his head. The murder was never solved.
Oscar Wilde, a serious absinthe drinker, used to entertain his lover, Lord Alfred 'Bosie' Douglas, here. It was following an afternoon meeting here, that Wilde in 1895 launched a libel trial against the Marquis of Queensbury, Douglas's father, who had accused him of sodomy. The trial resulted in Wildes eventual imprisonment.