Sunday, 19 June 2011

Lunch at the "In and Out"

Yesterday my wife and I were invited out to a lunch at the Naval and Military Club, St. James' Square, London by a very good friend and fellow member of Wargame Developments who we known to all as JB.

The club was founded in 1862, and moved to Cambridge House, Piccadilly in 1866. The building had an entrance and an exit marked "In" and "Out", and over time the club became better known as the "In and Out". In 1999 the club moved to new premises in St. James Square. The house it now occupies was built in 1679 for the Earl of Kent, but in 1725 the building - which was by then owned by the Earl’s son, the Duke of Kent - was badly damaged by a fire. As a result it was rebuilt in 1728 and its facade has changed very little since then.

Between 1912 and 1942 the house was the London home of Lady Nancy Astor – the first female to sit as a Member of Parliament – but during 1942 it was requisitioned by the British Government to serve as the Headquarters of the Free French Forces. After the end of World War II it passed into the Hands of the Arts Council of Great Britain before serving as a Court House for several years. It was bought in 1996 by the Naval and Military Club as a replacement for Cambridge House, and then refurbished.


The interior of the building is magnificent, and after a magnificent lunch of smoked salmon, chicken, and rice pudding, we were taken on a guided tour. Of particular note was the dinning room, which is on the First Floor and overlooks the Square.


Its walls are covered with paintings, including ones of Queen Victoria and her son – the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) – and General Sir Redvers Buller. One wall is covered by a huge depiction of a battle during the 1793 Flanders Campaign. The Library was also of interest, and as I glanced along the shelves I saw quite a number of copies of books that I owned ... and several I would have liked to have borrowed and read!

Like all good things, our visit to the "In and Out" came to an end, and we had to return to the somewhat more mundane – and very wet – outside world. It was a great day out, and helped to raise out spirits at a time when 'reality' has been putting both a physical and emotional strain upon us.

Thank you, JB, for inviting us!

8 comments:

  1. Conrad Kinch,

    It was!

    The food, the atmosphere, and the surroundings, all made for a wonderful experience.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a thoughtful gesture from JB.
    Glad you and your wife were able to relax a little.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There is something deeply comforting about establishment clubs like this still serving rice pudding.. on such food was the British Empire built! :o)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Fixed Bayonet Metal Soldiers,

    Having visited the "In and Out", I can see why someone would want to be a member.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  5. Steve-the-Wargamer,

    And what is more, it was a top notch rice pudding! No lumps, no skin .... and very creamy. One of the best I have ever tasted.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete
  6. Jfidz,

    It was a very nice thing for JB to do for us. We both found the whole experience very relaxing, and just what we both needed.

    All the best,

    Bob

    ReplyDelete