EAST WING AS A VENUE FOR FUNCTIONS AND EVENTS
THE EAST Wing’s original promise was to increase revenue for the club and to subsidize the cost of dining and catering, alcohol, so that members (like other clubs) could enjoy the benefit of inexpensive wining and dining. We all contributed heavily with the demand of SAS (SPECIAL ADDED SUBSCRIPTIONS) when it was being built at an enormous cost – levied many years ago when it was a lot of money and involved a lot of sacrifice.
Some members had to leave the Club because the cost was so onerous on the family.
The East Wing’s enormous cost was promoted by Paul Covell as revenue which would subsidize alcohol, and dining and would allow members to enjoy privileges of inexpensive meals and inexpensive alcohol virtually at cost price. The Club used to offer generosity of alcohol and generosity of food portions. That is what is expected of a club.
Somehow this has now been lost over the last 10-15 years and the commercial profit motive has set in to extract as much money as possible that would in fact be High Street Prices plus 20%. The main dining room is competing with some of the most expensive restaurants in London. Hurlingham now is a commercial enterprise – offering very little Club cosy atmosphere or fair prices for dining.
We are left with hard core examination of every penny that needs to be paid to make a profit. the new portion size is far less than any restaurant would dare to offer. Why are they competing with the High Street anyway?
Hurlingham has a captive audience, so it is lucky in that respect, though more and more people don’t wish to dine there any longer but just to have snacks, sandwiches, and occasional coffees and drinks.. In the long run, the Club will lose out.
The price of wine should be offered at cost plus 10% as demonstrated in many of the Clubs that I belong to.
The new commercial outlook has spoilt the once intimate friendly warm institution where friends could participate and meet up casually and dine without breaking the bank. There are no rents to be paid and therefore the food should be discounted and subsidized. Neil Kilgour told me he used to subsidize the harness room with £44,000 a year. That would go a long way to making the dining experience fantastic..
the food remains substandard – very little freshness, choice, creativity, selection and is considered overpriced. I know that the pandemic will be blamed for many years, but I think we need to get over it, think ahead, and plan something to look forward to.
I believe the functions should remain available and encouraged – they do not bother members at all – there is no interference and is completely separate – it is not an encumbrance at all and would benefit the club hugely The East Wing will become a white elephant if not used – it was built for that purpose and many people made the sacrifices to pay for it a long time ago.
outside catering companies should be considered to do the catering. I don’t believe the in-house catering was successful.
Perhaps with the new generations a new perspective on what a club should be like has altered things and maybe it is set to remain this way from now onwards.
The club for the moment remains a sanctury of paradise in the middle of London. The atmosphere, the exquisite gardens make it the envy of the world and we hope it will continue to be this way always. There are minor deficiencies that can be overcome easily with a bit of thought, caring, and ingenuity.