Vintage Silverplate Matchbox Stand, Claridge's of London
I'll be honest. I was raised that it simply wasn't polite to "toot your own horn". But, sometimes...well, one just can't help oneself! Here at P.O.S.H. we have always sought to take the path less traveled, and in so doing unearth for our customers the unique and the unexpected. Case in point is our ever-changing range of vintage hotel silver. Beautiful, functional pieces with provenance. Pieces that tell a rich story anchored in a time and place that is no more. Perhaps most things appear more romantic while wearing the glasses of nostalgia, but far be it from us to turn our noses up at nostalgia. A good example of this was this gorgeous silverplated matchbox stand we found at market in the north of England. It has long-since sold, but at times we rather enjoy looking wistfully back on some of our more glamorous offerings.
In case you've forgotten Claridge's illustrious history, I've included the following brief synopsis:
"I don't want to go to heaven. I want to go to Claridge's." - Spencer Tracy
For over a century Claridge's Hotel in London has enjoyed the patronage of the most illustrious families, leaders and dignitaries from around the world. In the heart of Mayfair, the hotel is within easy reach of Bond Street, Regent Street, Berkeley Square, Grosvenor Square and Hyde Park. Claridge’s first seed was sown in 1812, when James Mivart opened a hotel in the house at 51 Brook Street. The hotel was named Mivart's and was designed for guests who wished to stay in London for extended periods of time, rather than simply passing through. Apartments were let by the month, rather than by the night. The Great Exhibition of 1851 brought a large influx of visitors and foreign royalty to London, including the Grand Duke Alexander of Russia and King William III of the Netherlands. Both of them made Mivart’s their home away from home.
At 49 Brook Street there had always been a separate hotel, run by husband and wife William and Marianne Claridge. In 1854 they purchased Mivart’s; Mivart, now in his 70s, was able to retire, and the Claridges owned the entire row of houses from no. 49 to the corner of the block. The goodwill associated with the Mivart name was such that the hotel initially traded as “Claridge’s, late Mivart’s” until Mivart’s death in 1856. Claridge’s, as the hotel would now be known, continued to attract the best of British and foreign aristocracy. Perhaps its greatest seal of approval came when Queen Victoria arrived with Prince Albert to visit the Empress Eugènie of France, who had made Claridge’s her winter quarters in 1860.
Claridge’s truly came into its own after the First World War, when many aristocrats were forced to sell their London homes. Keeping a house in London which one might only use for six months of the year had become very expensive. Renting a suite at Claridge's was a great deal cheaper as the hiring and keeping of staff was no longer an issue. Claridge’s was fortunate to escape bombing during World War II, and remained a popular social gathering spot. Many royal families who found themselves exiled from their own countries as war raged across Europe made their way to the familiar haven that was Claridge’s. Notable among them was King Peter of Yugoslavia, exiled from his country in 1941 and his son, Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia was born in Suite 212 in July 1945. Indeed even the British Royal Family became familiar with Claridge’s standards of hospitality and service, and chose to host many of their own private family parties at the hotel.
From Claridge's Hotel in London, an exquiste silverplate Matchbox Stand. Bottom-stamped Claridge's, this is a wonderful relic from one of the world's grandest hotels.