In the last couple of months, Mayfair waved goodbye to Britain’s oldest casino. A site of unadulterated luxury, Crockfords has been at the heart of Mayfair for almost two centuries. As the property hits the market, let’s take a look at the building’s history, and what might be next.
Crockfords Casino at its height
Nowadays, players throughout the UK can try their hand at casinos from the comfort of their home, with online live casino games like Crazy Time, Adventures Beyond Wonderland, and classic roulette, poker, baccarat, and blackjack. Thanks to live streaming technologies, online casinos can host games in real time, with real dealers and croupiers, and real opponents, affording players an authentic and immersive casino experience.
However, when Crockford’s club was first founded in the 1820s, this was not the case. At this time, players headed down to their nearest bricks-and-mortar casino to play their hand. With this in mind, William Crockford launched the first iteration of the casino at 50 St James Place, right at the heart of Mayfair, specialising in a dice game called Hazard, which is said to be the precursor to Craps.
Though the casino closed in 1845, it was reopened on a nearby site 100 years after it was first founded. This Crockford’s Club was launched as a bridge club around 1928, located at 21 Hertford Street. Widely accepted to be the first modern version of Crockfords Casino, this club was named after the original founder and opened by people formerly part of Almack’s bridge club – most predominantly Henry Beasley and Mrs Bates.
Over the years, the casino added games like roulette and blackjack to the table, and occupied a few different locations throughout London’s most fashionable and exclusive district, before settling at what would be its final location in 1983 – 30 Curzon Street. It was known for having a high-end feel about it, where men must wear tuxedos and women donned cocktail dresses, making it both Britain’s oldest and most luxurious casino.
What’s next for 30 Curzon Street?
Unfortunately, September 2023 saw Crockfords Casino announce that it would be closing its doors for the last time after 195 years. Though this is certainly a hit for Mayfair’s elaborate and exclusive history, this story does not have to have an unhappy ending. An update in October 2023 heard that the site of the former casino, previously valued at around £80 million, will be going up for sale.
The property is hitting the market with a guide price of £70 million via Savills and NCM Projects, and it is hoped that the property will attract new investment and redevelopment to the area. Of course, Mayfair has been seeing a great deal of such redevelopment in recent years, injecting new life into the neighbourhood.
Although we won’t know for sure quite what the site will be used for next, trends suggest that the former casino could well be used as luxury apartments, an exclusive club, or even house high-end designer stores or shopping boutiques. Such redevelopment will update the historic character to the 21st century, whilst still upholding the air of luxury the building possesses. So, watch this space.