You’ll have to change the name,’ said the taxi driver. He was dropping us at the Savile Club. Admittedly, it might now be called the Brook, from the premises at 69, Brook Street, but the club once leased a house in Savile Row. I’ve spent a couple of happy mornings and an exceedingly good lunchtime-in the club recently, in connection with an architectural competition: happy, because I’m always pleased to renew acquaintance with the elegant interiors, which include a Rococo ballroom that could have been a stage set for Der Rosenkavalier. Domestic de luxe is the note.
The house was remodelled out of two dwellings for the New York financier Walter Burns in the 1890s. Burns had been living on Madison Avenue when he literally married the girl next door. She just happened to be J. Pierpont Morgan’s sister.
For his architect, Burns chose a Dutchman, William Oscar Wilford Bouwens van der Boijen, not a name to say quickly after lunch. The Savile arrived in 1927. Not that, strictly speaking, we were visiting the Savile itself, but the symbiont that occupies the top floor, the Flyfishers’ Club. What a corrective to anyone who imagines the hustle of London really matters. Among its treasures is a fishing creel, reputedly owned by Izaak Walton.
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