It struck me that it might be nice to preserve these lectures in written format, which is why I’ve added this page.
Francis Bacon happened upon the club on its first day of opening, and got on so well with Muriel Belcher that she offered to pay him £10 a week to bring in “interesting” people and wealthy patrons.
The club soon became a haunt of louche Soho, with members such as Dylan Thomas, Lucien Freud, John Minton, the two Roberts, Colin Mac Innes, Jeffrey Bernard, George Melly, Noel Coward, John Deakin and many others.
Muriel Belcher came from a well-to-do Jewish family and had run a nightclub in Leicester Square, the Music Box, during the war.
The Colony Room was so named after Muriel Belcher’s then girlfriend, a Jamaican called Carmel, and decorated, in a rather desultory fashion, in bamboo and leopardskin.
The Sayings of Noël Coward 1908 Count Carl Gustaf von Rosen Flight Lieutenant Gordon Brettel DFC The Silver Bullet: A Monograph on the Martini The Eight Kinds of Drunkennesse The Assassination of Georgi Markov In Search of Sheri-Dan Obituary Euphemisms The Adelphi Theatre Murder A Letter From the Colonies 1907 The New Sheridan Guide to Hangovers A Journey to Vienna’s Coffee Houses Some Interesting Discourses on Strong Drink Life Without Butter Satanism: Separating Fact from Myth A Weekend Invitation Nina Hamnett, the Queen of Bohemia Suits You, Sir In 1948 a Jewish lesbian called Muriel Belcher got permission to open a private club, with a drinks licence between 3 and 11 pm.
In those dismal days (and indeed up to the late 1980s) pubs shut from 2.30 till 5 pm leaving thirsty people with nowhere to slake their thirst unless they belonged to a private watering-hole.