“The far ends of the earth are not five minutes from Charing Cross, nowadays.”*

*D.H. Lawrence, in “Lady Chatterleys Lover” (1928)

From: Ritz and Escoffier: The Hotelier, The Chef, and the Rise of the Leisure Class (2018), by Luke Barr:

“(1898) One of the reporters spotted Ritz as he was leaving the hotel and asked him why he and Escoffier had been fired. I haven’t the faintest idea, Ritz declared, maintaining his dignity but not breaking his stride. He was going to see an old friend, E. Neuschwander, the manager of the Charing Cross Hotel. He needed a place to stay, somewhere to set up shop temporarily, to make plans, receive visitors.

They’d come full circle, it seemed, Ritz and Escoffier: the Charing Cross Hotel was the very place Escoffier had gone for help on the day they’d arrived in London and found the Savoy kitchen bereft of supplies. Escoffier’s old friend Louis Peyre had given him what he needed. Now it was Ritz’s friend Neuschwander, the manager at the same hotel, who offered to help, putting him up in the best room he had available.

It was from the Charing Cross Hotel that Ritz sent word to Marie about their new and unfortunate circumstances. She was out in the country, in Golders Green, with the two small children. They would be moving soon, he said: to Paris. There was no reason to stay in London for the season. Marie should begin closing up the house…

…In his suite at the Charing Cross Hotel, Ritz received an outpouring of support from his loyal friends and clients: notes, phone calls, visits. Marie was sent large bouquets of roses. The Duchess of Devonshire, Robert Crawshay, Alfred Beit, the Neumann brothers, Lillie Langtry, and Nellie Melba all made their allegiance known.

Lady de Grey came in person to pay her regards, and to bring word from Ritz’s most important client of all, the Prince of Wales…”

From Historic England entry:

“Charing Cross Hotel, former railway terminus hotel to the Charing Cross Railway (an off-shoot of the South Eastern Railway), built 1863-1864 to the designs of EM Barry, constructed by the Lucas brothers. The two upper floors were reconstructed in about 1953 to the designs of FJ Wills and Son following bomb damage in 1941. The hotel was extensively refurbished in the late-C20. A bridge over Villiers Street (see picture above) leads to an extension of 1877-1881, built to the designs of John Fish. The extension is excluded from the listing.

…Within the functioning space of the hotel, however, axial corridors on all floors are richly detailed; some with arched coffered ceilings supported on pilasters and heavy cornices, and others with a series of vaulted ceilings lit by Diocletian windows. The main, sweeping grand staircase is located in the wing, lit by arched windows at the half-landings. The panelled open well has decorative plaster work, and Corinthian columns at each landing; the stairs have stone treads with a wooden banister atop decorative pierced iron panels.

On the first floor of the wing is the ballroom (named as such in 2019), the former coffee room, a richly decorated room square in plan with broad recesses on each side and splayed angles across the corners, with a plainer, shallow later extension to the south side. This room has full height panelling, with heavy and deep entablatures, treated with a Corinthian order expressed in brown and light purple scagliola-covered columns and pilasters. Large winged female half figures in plaster adorn the consoles which buttress the arches to the recesses. Saint (1986) speculates that the figures could be by Raffaele Monti. Above the cornices, rich plasterwork arches and panels support the gently-dished ceiling with corner discs and small scale details and symbols including that of the Charing Cross and South Eastern railway companies…”

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