Posts Tagged ‘Cinnamon Club’

Axing libraries is cultural vandalism and a false economy

03/03/2011, 07:00:41 AM

by Sally Bercow

Being partial to an Indian, I’m rather fond of The Cinnamon Club in Westminster, although its astronomical prices (multiply your typical curry house bill by four) mean it’s necessarily a rare treat. Admittedly, I’m biased – I was mid tandoori pigeon when my partner (now husband) popped the question in the Cinnamon Club nine years ago. Nevertheless, as a quick Google search will testify, the restaurant has attracted rave reviews for its gourmet Indian cuisine, its service and, not least, its magnificent venue.

The Cinnamon Club has Westminster city council to thank for its success, even if only in small part and inadvertently at that. In 1998, the Tories shut down and sold off Westminster library in Great Smith Street, one of London’s oldest public libraries. The grade II listed building was then beautifully renovated and The Cinnamon Club arose, phoenix like, in its magnificent, imposing space. In the meantime, Westminster council relocated the library (now known as St James’s) just up the road and it has proved hugely popular with local residents, workers and schools alike.

Last night, however, Westminster council voted to close St James’s Library, as of September this year. I’ve no idea if another destination restaurant will eventually arise from its ashes and, although I like eating out as much as the next person, frankly I don’t care. Like councils up and down the country, Westminster is committing an act of civic vandalism; closing libraries (over 400 are under threat nationwide) will inflict tremendous – and irreversible – damage on local communities.

The sad fact is that, thanks to the Tory-led government – in the shape of Eric Pickles – local authorities are being forced to cut too fast and too deep and, in doing so, many clearly regard libraries as an easy target. “Aha” cries your defensive local councillor “but if not libraries, what would you cut instead”? (more…)

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Breakfast at the Cinnamon: a recipe for cash

22/06/2010, 11:26:32 AM

The cinnamon club is an up market Indian restaurant next door to the department for education, just across the road from Westminster Abbey.  At 300 yards or so, it is one of the closest restaurants to the House of Commons. Once, it had a Michelin star.

At any sitting, its large, airy dining room will be more than smattered with political big fish, their media parasites and the big business interests who put the oxygen in the tank.

At breakfast, while the ladies who lunch are still painting their nails, the political wildlife are the only ones there.

This morning was typical.  Steve Richards of the Independent was with John Pienaar of the BBC.  Anyone who knows Pienaar will not be surprised that he was wolfing a full English.  Richards, still digesting a big lunch in the House of Commons with David Miliband yesterday, was more restrained. (more…)

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