One of the trickiest aspects of the St Mary’s Inn project is getting the right choice of old and new furniture to furnish the public areas and our bedrooms. If we get this right, the place will have real character from the outset. If we get it wrong, we’ll end up with a mish mash of random objects that offends the eye.
However, there are occasions when you just can’t say no to a golden opportunity. This happened recently to my colleague Tony when he had the chance to buy some furniture from a private seller in London. We’re now the proud owners of some original oak pieces – a settle and five chairs – from Den Norske Klub (DNK). DNK was founded in 1887 on 17th May, Norway’s Constitution Day. It’s the oldest club of its kind in the UK and is still an important meeting place for the Norwegian community in London.
In 1924, the Klub moved into ‘Norway House’ off Trafalgar Square, occupying the top three floors. This building came to play an important role during World War II, when many Norwegian institutions and government bodies were housed there. King Haakon VII and the members of his Norwegian government-in-exile became regular visitors to the Klub.
He also became the Klub’s first patron. His son, King Olav V, was honorary president from 1957 until his death in 1991. His son again, the present King Harald V, is today an honorary member. In 1997, ‘Norway House’ was sold and turned into luxury flats. The furniture comes from the sale of all its assets and has been in private hands since then.
The sister business of St Mary’s Inn, Jesmond Dene House in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, has a strong Norwegian connection. There are many examples of Norwegian art – both paintings and sculpture -that can be found around the property and King Harald V stayed there when he visited Newcastle in 2008 to receive the Honorary Freedom of the City.
We still haven’t decided where these pieces of furniture will be placed in the property but, wherever they end up, our customers who use them will be able to say that they’ve shared their seat with a King!Contact Us WHAT MAKES A GREAT PUB?