Embassy Court in the 1930s

Embassy Court in the 1930s

Embassy Court was not just home to the wealthy and famous. The luxury lifestyle on offer required the presence of up to 40 staff a number of whom had accommodation on site. Like the last English country houses of the 1930s the presence of maids, butlers and other servants was incorporated into the architectural scheme with separate lifts and rear entrances to many of the flats from the walkways intended primarily for their use. The basement area would have been a hive of activity including car parking and garages as well as the main kitchen, storage spaces for liner trunks, vehicle maintenance facilities, a petrol pump and living quarters for a head porter and family.

Residents and guests arriving at the front door would be saluted by uniformed doormen, and escorted to a meal in the restaurant or perhaps to a cocktail on the roof terrace. Their driver would park the car at the rear while porters and maids organised luggage and prepared rooms. Lunch and drinks might be brought to the flat while residents engaged perhaps in a spot of sunbathing before changing into afternoon wear for a promenade on the sea front. At dinner in the restaurant, you could rub shoulders with the

Norman Howard, 1935 (from original brochure)

fashionable, wealthy and famous in this most stylish of residences.

If such a lifestyle ever existed at Embassy Court it lasted precisely four years. The outbreak of the Second World War abruptly curtailed the service culture that sustained it. But unlike some of its contemporary country houses, Embassy Court today functions perfectly well without its retinue of porters and maids.

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