This Exclusive London Members’ Club Is Venturing Up North
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This Exclusive London Members’ Club Is Venturing Up North

Groucho Club is opening a new branch in Wakefield

The North is about to get an unexpected taste of London culture with a new branch from Groucho Club. Boasting celebrity members from Noel Gallagher to Rachel Weisz, Lily Allen to Stephen Fry, the famed private members’ club will retain its Soho spot – on the prestigious Dean Street, where it first opened in 1985 – while opening a new branch up north, just outside Wakefield. Here’s everything you need to know.

Groucho Bretton: The North’s New Private Members’ Club

Open to women from its genesis (and resistant to the stuffy reputation of members’ clubs to date), The Groucho Club has operated from 45 Dean Street in Soho since 1985. It’s always been a place for like-minded people: around 400 artsy types – publishers, artists and those in the theatre and media – helped raise the funds way back when to help secure the then-dilapidated property and transform it into a new, non-political haven of drinking, dining and winding down.

And now, it’s making an unprecedented move: opening an outpost in Yorkshire. Groucho Bretton will have 40 rooms, be open to non-members, and will be The Groucho Club’s first permanent location outside of London in its history.

It’ll take over Bretton Hall, a Grade II listed country house situated in the world famous Yorkshire Sculpture Park. A former arts college standing proudly beside sculptures by Antony Gormley, Sean Scully, Henry Moore and many more, the team behind Groucho were drawn to the property partly due to its storied heritage. ‘This is possibly the most exciting venture in the 39-year history of The Groucho,’ says Ewan Venters, chief executive of Artfarm, the company behind The Groucho Club. ‘We have done pop-ups at literary and music festivals in the past, but this will be the first time we have set up a permanent home outside of Soho.

‘Groucho Bretton will have a life of its own, separate from the original Groucho, but equally with a uniquely eclectic style and personality rooted in both people and place,’ Venters says.

‘The heritage of Bretton Hall is one of the factors that originally attracted us to this site, and our plans will be respectful of these traditions while reinventing its appeal by creating modern spaces for our members, new and old, locals or visitors, to work, to play, to meet, to take part in events and to help us turn Groucho Bretton into a place where everyone feels at home,’ Venters adds. ‘We want people to feel they are part of a family and a community, not just a members’ club.’

Artfarm has teamed up with Yorkshire real estate investor Rushbond Group and Wakefield Council to pursue the venture. Jonathan Maud, chairman of Rushbond Group, adds: ‘The international significance of Yorkshire Sculpture Park and Bretton Hall, coupled with the Groucho Club’s reputation for creativity and companionship has all the magic ingredients to make Groucho Bretton a successful venture.’

‘For three generations, Yorkshire Sculpture Park has been loved by millions of people who are enthralled by its unique union of exceptional art and heritage landscape,’ adds Clare Lilley, Director of Yorkshire Sculpture Park. ‘Groucho Bretton takes the estate into a new era, and importantly will conserve and bring back to life the magnificent eighteenth-century building that was once the centrepiece of the estate and has lain empty for 16 years.’

Where?

Groucho Bretton will be situated in the Grade II listed Bretton Hall on the grounds of Yorkshire Sculpture Park. (Wakefield WF4 4LG)

When?

Groucho Bretton is pegged to open in 2026.

How?

Groucho Bretton will be open to existing Groucho Club members as well as the public.

EXPLORE

Discover more about The Groucho Club (and apply to become a member?) at thegrouchoclub.com