In light of the recent refurbishment of the Great Gallery at Pall Mall, March’s object of the month is a photograph of the Great Gallery in 1952. The Great Gallery was designed by the architects, Mewès and Davis, in the Louis XIV style with long French windows and the palatial dimensions of 24.3m x 12.2m x 9.8m. Three large, gilt chandeliers illuminate the decorative ceiling, painted by Parisian interior designer, Marcel Boulanger. The exquisite gold gilding was added to the room at a later date.
Ever since the formation the Club, the dining room has played an integral role in the Club history and in the progression of the automobile industry. It would be at the luncheons and dinners where members would meet to discuss matters, whilst dining on fine cuisine. Not only was the Great Gallery used for dinners, its beauty, elegance, oak floor and acoustics made it suitable for other social events including receptions, lectures, concerts, plays and dances.
Over the years, award winning chefs have served dinner in the Great Gallery to esteemed guests, from members of motoring associations to members of the Royal family, including King Edward VII, Lord Mountbatten of Burma, Prince Francis of Teck, the Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Henry of Prussia. This photo features a banquet for the Organisation Mondiale de Tourisme et de l’Automobile on the 23rd of May 1952. Delegates from 62 countries attended the conference. The chef on this evening served salmon for which he was awarded three awards. The scenic Great Gallery even appears in an episode of the period drama, Downton Abbey in the scene where the racing driver, Henry Talbot, takes Lady Mary to the Club for dinner and refers to the Club as a ‘temple for car lovers’.