Seeing the Savoy: a fun day out with our Friends

An original victorian lift at the Savoy HotelVolunteers and Friends of the Archives recently enjoyed a guided tour of the world-famous Savoy Hotel. The visit was just part of a varied programme of events laid on for the Friends of Westminster City Archives group.

Here’s a special report from one of our members, Gloria:

“What a unique and impressive accumulation of ‘firsts’: Savoy was the first luxury hotel in Britain, the first public building in the world to be lit entirely by electricity, and the first one with electric lifts – charmingly known in the late Victorian period as “ascending rooms” [see picture above]. The Savoy also became the first hotel to provide most of its rooms with private bathrooms en suite. My grandson would have used the word “cool” to describe this visit and I certainly feel like this has quite possibly been the coolest place I have ever been.

Although more than few weeks  have elapsed since our visit, all the comments and anecdotes of the history of the hotel are still in my thoughts – imagining Claude Monet and James Whistler painting views of the Thames from their rooms, Vivien Leigh, Fred Astaire, Coco Chanel and Maria Callas wandering around, and Churchill and Eisenhower drinking during the Second World War in the famed American Bar. It has been a sheer pleasure being able to experience, even for a short guided visit, the lavishness, elegance and grandeur of such an important London landmark.

Tea at the Savoy for the Friends of Westminster Archives

I wish to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to Georgia for all her hard work in organising these unique visits and maintaining such a high level of excitement for the Friends and Volunteers of the Archives.”

[Gloria, Archives Volunteer]


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