In the cellars of The Stafford Hotel, London lies a secret dating back to the Second World War. They operate their very own underground WW2 museum and air raid shelter dedicated to the British and American Officers who used the hotel as their club (nicknamed Better ‘Ole Club) during the conflict.
Walking through the extensive cellars of the hotel, the museum is revealed – full of wartime posters, tin hats, gas masks and ration books – left in situe. If an event is not booked on that day within the cellars (it’s a popular and unusual dinner venue), you may be able to take a quick tour of this tiny WW2 museum yourself.
There’s another wartime link at The Stafford too – this time, a memorial to one of the leading figures in the maquis groups of the French Resistance. Nancy Wake, one of the Allies’ most decorated servicewomen of the war, lived at the hotel in later life and was allocated her very own bar stool in the property’s American Bar. The hotel also honoured her with a statue.
If you are heading to St James’s, do go and see this hidden gem of a hotel and perhaps raise a glass to Nancy if in the bar. Her tipple was a gin and tonic. Chin Chin.
(This blog post, although adapted, first appeared in A3Traveller).
Contributor & photographer: Sue Lowry
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