Well-read: Westminster Venue Collection highlights literary connections in celebration of World Book Day

Westminster Venue Collection reveals it’s a hotbed of literary interest in celebration of World Book Day.

To coincide with the international celebration on 5 March, some of the marketing consortium’s 33 venues tell their own stories of these special connections, which include The Chronicles of Narnia author C.S Lewis, James Bond creator Ian Fleming and poets Sylvia Plath and Andrew Motion.

Regent’s Conferences & Events at Regent’s University London and poet Sylvia Plath

American poet Sylvia Plath was a frequent visitor to Regent’s Park when she lived in Primrose Hill following her marriage to British poet Ted Hughes in 1956. Her visits to Queen Mary’s Rose Garden, situated immediately opposite Regent’s Conference and Events, inspired the creation of a poem with the same name, which appears in the notes section of her Collected Poems.

Regent’s University London offers a range of meeting and function rooms alongside multiple outdoor spaces in 11 acres of private grounds within Regent’s Park. Rooms include the Tuke Theatre with room for 370 delegates; The Refectory with dining facilities for 200 and Herringham Hall for meetings of 120.

St Martin in the Fields and poet Andrew Motion

Former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion wrote a poem to mark the completion of St Martin’s renewal project, which took place between 2006 and 2008. The verse is inscribed on the railings of The Lightwell and says:

Your stepping inwards from the air to earth

Winds round itself to meet the open sky

So vanishing becomes a second birth.

Fare well. Return. Fare well. Return again.

Here home and elsewhere share one mystery.

Here love and conscience sing the same refrain.

Here time leaps up. And strikes eternity

St Martin’s in the Fields, on the north east corner of Trafalgar Square, has two conference spaces:  The Crypt and the Gallery and three meeting rooms.

10-11 Carlton House Terrace and C.S Lewis

10-11 Carlton House Terrace, once the former residence of Prime Minister William Gladstone, is home to The British Academy, the UK’s national body for the humanities and social sciences. The Chronicles of Narnia author C.S Lewis was made a Fellow of The British Academy in 1955 (although The British Academy was not headquartered at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace at this point).

10-11 Carlton House Terrace can hold conferences, board meetings, training events seminars, lectures, private dining events and weddings for between 10 and 500 people.

116 Pall Mall and Ian Fleming

Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was a regular visitor to this prestigious address during World War II when it was known as the United Service Club. Fleming, who wrote 12 novels and two collections of short stories, served in the Naval Intelligence Division as Lieutenant Commander RNVR and is said to have had lunch in the dining room every week.

116 Pall Mall, designed by renowned architect John Nash, offers five floors of entertaining space and can accommodate 10-1,000 guests. The space available to hire includes subterranean brick vaulted wine bar, the grand dining room with views over Pall Mall, and two floors of modern conference/meeting suites, boasting state-of-the-art facilities and equipment.

London Fashion Week through Westminster’s lens

As the most iconic calendar event of the year among the capital’s fashionistas approaches, we take a look at some of Westminster’s most prestigious venues with stand-out spaces for photo shoots and catwalks.

London Fashion Week returns to the city on 14-18 February 2020.

116 Pall Mall
116 Pall Mall has been a regular host for fashion shows over the years, including shows for London and Pakistan Fashion Week and three more large-scale shows scheduled for 2020. With multiple interlinking rooms leading off from the stunning grand staircase and balcony, 116 Pall Mall is the ideal venue for fashion shows. Clients can book a number of different spaces for dressing rooms and outfit changes, hair and makeup, as well as break-out rooms for dining or networking. The Nash Room is the largest room and ideal for long catwalk set ups. The grand staircase is also a unique backdrop for fashion photoshoots, with the glittering 15ft chandelier dominating above.

Church House Westminster
Both British and international up-and-coming fashion brands have showcased their collections at Church House Westminster. The catwalk events, which have coincided with London Fashion Week in previous years, were a great success. Nestled in picturesque Dean’s Yard, the Grade II listed venue boasts stunning views over Westminster Abbey. The Assembly Hall offers a very large dome-shaped space of 519 square metres with seven entrances, ideal for unusual and dramatic catwalk layouts. The polished English oak panelling and emblems sit beneath the room’s architectural focal point – a striking 30-foot glass dome. Transforming the room is expertly accomplished by the in-house AV technicians using state-of-the-art lighting systems, projection and sound equipment.

Churchill War Rooms
Churchill War Rooms is no stranger to London Fashion Week photoshoots. Located underneath the bustling streets of Westminster, this enigmatic venue offers a rich historic backdrop and ambient lighting for photo shoots. Whether in front of the 1940s electric generator wall packed with switches and dials, or in the long corridors where Winston Churchill himself walked, there’s plenty of scope to capture some truly iconic photos. Host your next shoot or celebrate London Fashion Week in style at Churchill War Rooms.

IET London: Savoy Place
The Johnson Roof Terrace at IET London: Savoy Place offers breath-taking views over London and the River Thames – a perfect backdrop for filming and photo shoots. The riverside setting is within easy reach of London Waterloo and staffed by professionals who understand the needs of photographers and production teams. It’s been used by leading fashion brands included Barbour in 2019. The top floor terrace is a flexible, secluded space with full power and wireless connectivity, and is bookable alongside the Riverside Room, an expansive indoor space overlooking London’s Southbank.

Lumiere London
Lumiere London: The Embassy is owned by acclaimed fashion photographer Carlos Lumiere and used during London Fashion Week for all manners of photoshoots. The event space reflects Carlos’ rich, emotive and dynamic style, blending classic lines with luscious splashes of colour. The Embassy embodies a passion for architecture and offers intimate spaces for fashion photography with a striking backdrop.

One Great George Street
One Great George Street has been nominated and is now a finalist for the category of Best Fashion Event Venue at the Prestigious Venues Prestigious Star Awards 2020. The Great Hall has played host to several fashion shows including collections from the likes of Halpern, Matthew Williamson and Issa London. The ornate details of the room, such as the carved, painted ceiling, and two stunning over-sized chandeliers, make it the perfect space to showcase the art that is fashion.

RIBA
With its high ceilings, grand staircase and beautiful art deco features, RIBA is brimming with aesthetic backdrops for fashion shows or photoshoots. Brands and designers can take advantage of the light and spacious Florence Hall with its floor to ceiling windows and 400 capacity or can take to the Gallery for more intimate viewings for 150. For more creative and dynamic shows, the staircase can be utilised for models, as the audience watches from the first-floor balcony. RIBA has previously hosted brands including Barbour, Orla Kieley, Nicole Farhi, Jasper Conran and the Wales Bonner fashion show during London Fashion Week 2017. Lipsy London, Good House Keeping and Stella have all used the stunning surroundings of RIBA.

RSA House
RSA House boasts 11 event spaces, three of which have played host to fashion shows for up to 150 seated guests. The Vaults offer an atmospheric, subterranean space and a backdrop that can be transformed to suit any show and have their own private entrance on Durham Street to heighten exclusivity. The Great Room is the largest space and is dominated by the epic series of paintings, Progress of Human Knowledge and Culture, which never ceases to wow guests. In 2019, Sassi Holford showcased her Enamour collection of wedding dresses and eveningwear within the breath-taking surroundings of the Great Room, seen here. The Benjamin Franklin is contemporary, modern and the perfect blank canvas for more intimate shows.

The QEII Centre
The QEII Centre has an impressive track record of hosting and delivering successful fashion shows. From launching new ranges to showing off collections, industry leading designers such as Peter Pilotto and Natasha Zinko, and high-profile brands including Topshop Unique have held events here.

The Centre can offer two core spaces, The Churchill and Third Floor that allow the easy installation of full-size runways with ample space for the audience and photographers. Additional rooms are available for hair and makeup, backstage and press. The Churchill is atmospheric, with the lighting showcasing models against a dark background, while the Third Floor has exceptional natural light with the spectacular backdrop of Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament.

 

Photo: RSA House

Westminster Venue Collection appoints three new board members

Westminster Venue Collection, featuring 33 venues in the iconic borough of Westminster, has appointed three new board members to its panel of industry experts.

As the venue consortium grows, three new roles of responsibility have been introduced, drawing upon senior venue professionals with expertise in events and member management to bring new ideas and organisation to the collection.

Stephan Trockle, co-founder of Lumiere London venues joins the board to provide membership support to both present and prospective venues. Together with his husband, renowned fashion photographer Carlos Lumiere, Stephan founded the Lumiere collection in 2007, and has curated the illustrious Embassy venue on Grosvenor Place over the past 12 months into a stylish set of event spaces, hot on interior design. Having previously worked in television and film before breaking into venue management, Stephan brings creativity and extensive experience to Westminster Venue Collection’s board of directors.

Berenika Kaczmarska, events manager at the stylish private members club, The Lansdowne Club joins the board to help strengthen the events market in Westminster through encouraging shared best practice and experiences among the venues. Her role will involve supporting the collection’s events and annual showcase which takes place in October. Having worked at The Lansdowne Club for five years, she has used her expertise to organise an array of bespoke corporate and private events such as networking events and weddings, before a promotion in November 2019 to the role of event manager.

Amie Murphy, business development and marketing manager at 10-11 Carlton House Terrace brings seven years of industry experience to the board. She previously worked as the sales and marketing manager at Royal Museums Greenwich, demonstrating a wealth of industry knowledge alongside a degree in events management. A few of Amie’s most impressive industry triumphs have included tripling the venue’s Christmas business and proactively engaging with the luxury market, resulting in increased business from fashion clients, product launches and exclusive brand takeovers.

On the appointment of the new board members, Rachel Azzopardi, chair of Westminster Venue Collection says, “It’s a very exciting time for the collection with plans for expansion in the year ahead and therefore an ideal opportunity to make three new appointments, each offering a different approach with fresh ideas that we feel will work in unison with the plans of the board to take the collection in a new direction. We can’t wait to get started and show what Stephan, Berenika and Amie have to offer.”

For more information on all 11 board members and industry stalwarts, visit https://www.venues-london.co.uk/team/.

116 Pall Mall shares why teaming up with competitors is the recipe for success

116 Pall Mall recently held its second highly successful collaborative marketing event.

116 Pall Mall is one of many prestigious and iconic buildings that – along with their primary function, whether it’s a museum, members club or historic building – can also be hired out for corporate events, parties, meetings, filming and everything in between.

THE CHALLENGE:
How to promote a venue in a marketplace as competitive and crowded as London.  How much noise can one venue make on its own? How can we increase our pulling power to potential clients, and make ourselves noticed?

When we re-branded 116 Pall Mall in the summer of the 2018, we quickly realised that there is huge demand and enthusiasm for new event spaces, but that the market is very saturated making it difficult to be noticed, even by those looking for what we offer.

The lightbulb moment for us here at 116 Pall Mall was the first collaborative event we held in 2018.  Working with organisations such as the Westminster Venue Collection, we were able to grow a strong network of likeminded neighbouring venues. Being part of the Collection allows us to regularly meet up with our peers and colleagues in hospitality to exchange views and share ideas, one of which lead to the Venue Safari.

WHY:
Powerful digital platforms have made access to and information about venues across the world available at the click of a mouse.  So how do we stand out from the crowd? We think the key is ‘personal knowledge’ and how can we educate our market?

Collectively, we understood that it is difficult for agents and clients to arrange a time to visit individual venues and it would be more beneficial for us to work together. By weight of numbers we would be on agents’ and clients’ ‘must visit’ lists, and when it came to representing ourselves, a broader outreach using our collective data would be of benefit.

Of course, we are vying with each other to attract new business, but it was from one of those meetings that we hatched a concept that would see us join forces with The Royal Society, Prince Philip House, and 10-11 Carlton House Terrace, and this became known as a Venue Safari.

Michael McGowan, Sales and Marketing Manager for Prince Philip House explains that “the idea came about as we saw an opportunity to bring clients and agents to our venues but not have to travel back and forth from all over the country.”

“It meant we could provide a unique, one-off event which enabled guests to visit all of the venues across one timeframe. The obvious benefit for us was introducing new clients and agencies to Prince Philip House.”

THE MIND SET
One size does not fit all. Collaborative working doesn’t suit all businesses, but we know that when looking through the eyes of the customer – no venue is the same and not every venue will suit their requirements. Working together and referring a venue that might be more suitable for the client means they are more likely to return for another event in the future. We also know that our neighbouring venues will return the referral favour, making this collaborative approach to working a benefit for everyone.

VENUE SAFARI
The second of our Venue Safaris was held in August in collaboration with The Royal Society and Prince Phillip House, both situated on the stunning John Nash designed Carlton House Terrace.

The itinerary saw a handpicked group of agents and clients begin their evening with drinks and an interactive starter at 116 Pall Mall, they then crossed Waterloo Place for a main course at the Royal Society and finished with an eye-catching dessert ‘tree’ at Prince Philip House, created by teams of in-house chefs across the venues.

In each venue, the guests were given a tour of the building, learnt a bit of history and saw the variety of rooms available for different events, giving Venue Safari guests a chance to consider options for future bookings.

“HISTORY AND UNIQUENESS”
Barbara Wutte, Head of Conferences at The Royal Society “We are always working on a regular basis with our neighbours on joint marketing ventures. But this time around the idea was to invite a small and selected group of guests, so you can talk to them personally and give everybody a memorable experience.

“The agents brought guests from a major insurer and a large construction company. They were blue chip organisations and since then we’ve already had quite a few enquiries about using the building for future events.”

“THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN VENUES IS IMPORTANT”
Also located on Carlton House Terrace is Prince Philip House, a Grade I Listed Building that is home to the Royal Academy of Engineering, which was founded in June 1976 by 126 of Britain’s leading engineers with the support of HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh.

Such was the success of Venue Safari, that we are planning to stage a similar event in January. It is certainly a different approach to marketing a venue but one that has paid off for everyone involved.

As McGowan says, “The relationships between each of our venues is very important. We can offer something a little different to clients and agencies when they attend a safari.”

Queens of Narnia host ‘fierce and fabulous’ QEII Centre winter showcase

Drag act The Globe Girls provided added sparkle to a Narnia-themed winter showcase at The QEII Centre in London on 10 December 2019.

Event professionals were invited to climb through a wardrobe and brush past the fake fur and glamorous wigs for an adventure within the fierce and fabulous environment of Drag Narnia, a place inspired by the C.S. Lewis classic The Chronicles of Narnia.

Alongside an evening of entertainment from the visually stunning and hysterically funny drag act The Globe Girls, guests were invited to get creative over glasses of mulled wine at candle and wreath-making workshops led by home fragrance brand Earl of East London and floral designer Elizabeth Marsh.

The centre’s award-winning catering team, QEII Taste created a suitably festive menu including some innovative plant-based dishes in support of QEII’s sustainability drive.

After sampling delicious festive canapes such as roast turkey and cranberry; spicy Scotch egg, and pear and chutney tart, guests were encouraged to try delights from Oriental and Middle Eastern themed food stalls.

The Oriental stall served hirata buns filled with pulled pork or jackfruit, and spicy soya, mirin and honey-roasted chicken thigh with coriander and jasmine rice, while the Middle Eastern stall offered an entirely plant-based offering of smashed winter roots, puy lentils and hot and sour shallots and roasted cauliflower and chickpea masala, both presented in hot boxes.

The spectacular three-hour event, designed to say thank you to QEII clients while spreading festive cheer, was captured on video by young people from Content Creatives, an initiative that equips young people with the technical skills and knowledge needed to break into the creative arts and media industries.

The videos were posted on QEII’s social media feed and support QEII’s strong track record in backing CSR initiatives.

The Royal Society invests in key AV upgrades for events

The Royal Society has announced the completion of a series of key AV upgrades that have been implemented in The Welcome Trust Lecture Hall over the past few months.

This is the largest space at the venue, which accommodates events for up to 300.

The AV upgrades include but are not limited to the following:

  • 4K resolution laser projector with source switching
  • A seamless projection surface in place of the drop-down screen
  • New LED stage lighting
  • Coloured LED lighting in the room ceiling and stage wall
  • Lighting desk provides colour flexibility
  • Self-operated stage lift for wheelchair users
  • New height adjustable lectern
  • New sound system
  • New cameras for filming requests
  • Blackout blinds installed (manually operated) for use when necessary

Another room that has benefited from AV upgrades is the Conference room, which is ideal for boardroom meetings of up to 24. The latest AV improvements offer clients the latest technology for conference calls and video facilities.

The conferencing team at The Royal Society hopes these improvements will not only enhance the space but will also lead to a more seamless event experience for delegates.

If you would like to book an event or arrange a site visit, please contact the events team on 020 7451 2612 or email at venuehire@royalsociety.org.

St Martin-in-the-Fields receives glowing feedback following new state-of-the-art AV system

St Martin-in-the-Fields has received a sharp increase in glowing feedback following venue changes in response to last year’s client feedback.

Right or wrong isn’t the issue, but what customers think about their experience is key to building solid relationships.  Like most venues, St Martin-in-the-Fields asks for post event feedback and is delighted that clients are happy to share their thoughts on their experience.

Negative comments that the AV and chairs in St Martin’s Hall, one of the venue’s key event spaces, weren’t making the grade meant that action needed to be taken. The new AV system includes a ceiling mounted HD projector and full speaker system. Also, all 130 of the uncomfortable chairs have been replaced. The new chairs offer a stylish yet functional change that not only work better for clients but also make the operations teamwork a little less as they are lightweight and much easier to store when not in use. The neutral colour with a burst of St. Martin’s red means they work for all events.

As 2020 unfolds, further projects will take place at St Martin’s to ensure successful events and happy clients.

IET London: Savoy Place celebrates 2019 success and anticipates exciting new decade

IET London: Savoy Place has had a hugely successful year, with over 85,000 delegates passing through the venue’s doors to attend 2,600 events and a staggering 70% of repeat external client events.

Among the delegates arriving in 2019 were robots, hackers, global ambassadors and world leaders (including the Prime Minister), even a Princess graced the IET with their presence.

Savoy Place’s status as the go-to London STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) venue was further enhanced with £280k of investments to the AV and digital infrastructure in the Riverside Room. These improvements contributed to new and returning clients, particularly for tech and digital events, rising by 30%.

Sean Spencer, head of venues and facilities at IET Venues commented: “Every year we strive to better the last, and I’m pleased that Savoy Place has strengthened its position as a leading STEM venue. Financial and people investment mean that clients can rest assured that whatever sector they are from, they can take advantage of our state-of-the-art infrastructure. As we head into 2020, we’ll look forward to beginning the celebrations for the IET’s 150th anniversary in 2021.”

If you would like to book an event or arrange a site visit, please contact 020 7344 5479 or email savoyplace@ietvenues.co.uk.

Regent’s Conferences & Events launches new summer brochure

Regent’s Conferences & Events has launched a brand-new brochure for Summer 2020.

With four acres of tranquil outdoor space and a large marquee, the York Lawns at Regent’s offer the perfect solution for a private summer event in the centre of London.

Considering the widespread needs of busy event professionals is at the forefront of the new brochure, offering culinary variety to cover all bases, from innovative street stalls, Caribbean BBQs and bowl food, to fine dining and a brand-new English house wine from Three Choirs vineyard in the Cotswolds.

With several entirely different menus available for the perusal of event planners, dietary requirements are a worry of the past, as vegan and vegetarian options are plentiful. Summer parties are also enhanced with added extras including traditional pick ‘n’ mix sweet shops and ice cream trikes, serving a variety of flavours of homemade ice creams and sorbets.

The new brochure details endless entertainment possibilities, from knock-out style challenges and sports day activities on the lawns, to retro arcade games and treasure hunts, tailored depending on age and objectives.

For details of the full brochure and the packages available, please contact the events team on 020 7487 7540.

Brand new conference centre now open at Lincoln’s Inn

Lincoln’s Inn’s brand-new conference centre is now officially open as of 1 November 2019.

Opened by Queen Elizabeth II, the Ashworth Centre is named after Mercy Ashworth who was one of the first women to be called to the bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1923. The lecture theatre is ideal for screenings, conferences and talks, and is complete with integrated AV facilities.

The tiered theatre style seating for 158 delegates also retracts, allowing the stylish double height space to be used for receptions as well as a host of other event possibilities. This venue is conveniently located next to a suite of meeting rooms suitable as break out spaces for smaller group sessions.

Cleverly constructed below the eminent Great Hall with a glass roof and natural stream of light, the Ashworth Centre provides a contemporary contrast to the historical nature of the Inn.

For more information on DDR packages and available dates, please contact the events team on 020 7693 5141.