This spotlight is all about the Drawingroom, almost hidden away in Francis Yard, Chesham. It quietly boasts great new music, fabulous food, fantastic atmosphere and a quirky and charming host. As well as a great venue that adds to the community with unusual groups such as writers and backgammon. We speak to Richard Elkington.
How long have you been in Chesham?
I moved from Ruislip, then in my mid-twenties, about thirty five years ago. My wife Alison and I bought a house in Lindo Close beside the New Surgery. Until 1990, I had a manufacturing business in Gloucestershire and travelled extensively, so I spent little of the first 20 years actually engaged with anything more than some friendships in Chesham.
How did you decide to set up The Drawingroom in Chesham?
It was good fortune really. I had been looking elsewhere, but with a finite amount of money, I needed premises with accommodation. Quite by chance I noticed this building had been empty for a while. It was more that this building would ‘serve the purpose,’ a retail space with the potential for accommodation. The building had been built for hospitality back in 1560 and little by little it has returned to its original purpose.
What would surprise your customers to know about you?
I’m not sure what might surprise about me anymore, but as a teenager, I had a David Bowie (Aladdin Sane) hair-cut, or that once upon a time, I was in the Army, or that for many years I wore a bow-tie?
What is the best thing about being based in Chesham?
Access to London, with quick and many escape routes, proximity to green and wide open spaces; there are two good reasons, but perhaps the best is something you cannot see, community. It’s a town with a pretty cool history, hosting the first two Simon & Garfunkel gigs, the first tennis club in the world and it is a town which had the courage to stand up to the establishment and say ‘NO, this is wrong.’ In 1792, organised by a woman (Lydia Hardy) Chesham stood up to establishment and as town of 6000 people refused sugar en-masse, this in protest to the slave trade some 80 years ahead of any legislation though Westminster.
New developments for this month?
There’s a new building in Francis Yard, it’s a bit amazing! Come see… That’s new, and there are three truly amazing headline acts on offer in August and some new dishes I’m working on as well and some vegan chocolate cakes too.
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