Update 5th January 2023: since our piece, landlord Grosvenor Estates have given Fitzdares another month in their old venue while they look for a new one.
A private sports club that was once dubbed “the world’s poshest bookies” has suddenly lost its Mayfair home and is searching for a new venue.
Owners of £600-a-year Fitzdares club, which was set up with help from Zac Goldsmith, were asked to leave by landlord Grosvenor Estates. It serves food and shows sport to 2,000 members. Grosvenor, which much of Mayfair, is carrying out a £500 million refurb just south of Bond Street.
While Fitzdares knew they would have to move, they hoped to stay for spring. They are giving credit to members, who may be in “shock”, and are planning a temporary site in a nearby club as they find a new home. CEO William Woodhams told us us he is looking for “dead space” in Mayfair. “Our most popular food is beef Wellington and our most popular wine is expensive claret,” he said. Offers on a postcard.
Matt Hancock abolishes Matt Hancock
After five years, Matt Hancock has closed down his self-titled social media platform. Last night the politician turned reality TV contestant bid a “fond farewell” to the app, calling it “iconic”, but saying “all good things must come to an end”. His book The Pandemic Diaries failed to sell at Christmas, so now Hancock, inset, will now post more on TikTok. When we asked for details, an aide said “it’s good to try new things”.
Sam Mendes’s stage fright
When walking in the West End on the opening night of a Sam Mendes play, you might find the sometime James Bond film director pacing the streets. Mendes finds attending the shows too tense, so goes “wandering” instead. This is unique to UK plays, he says, because critics are there with friends and family. On one such walk, he discovered the dormant Donmar Warehouse, and decided to help revive it.
MPs struggle with maths
PM Rishi Sunak says he wants compulsory maths teaching up to the age of 18, which might bring back algebra school nightmares for many. Is Sunak ground down by his innumerate colleagues? When the Royal Statistical Society asked MPs a simple GCSE Maths question last year, only half gave the right answer. In 2012, only 40 per cent of MPs answered correctly. Labour MPs did slightly better than the Tories.
Rees-Mogg doubles up
Londoner’s Diary 4th January 23
MP Jacob Rees-Mogg spooked some by posting a snap of his daughter wearing an eerie mask of his face, which she got as a Christmas gift. “On the whole I think one of me is enough,” he joked. Elsewhere, Lupita Nyong’o got into her Black Panther costume, and Rita Ora used a video of her kissing husband Taika Waititi to announce a new single. David Tennant wore a T-shirt of his son Ty’s character in House of the Dragon, and Idris and Sabrina Elba showed off their kitchen roll.