Through the secret door to London’s elite

On Wednesday 12th September, this year’s NatWest EWIF award winners, were invited to a unique luncheon. Enjoying Butler service at one of London’s oldest establishments, overlooking Buckingham Palace, and Trafalgar Square.
Stepping into the salubrious lobby, off Trafalgar Square, of one of Britain’s oldest private banks, we were instantly transported into world synonymous with old English glamour and style. Greeted by the butler in tails (alas, no top hat!), we were escorted to the old board room. Via the prosecco and gin table, of course.
Such was the venue of the EWIF Award winners lunch: Drummonds Bank, London. And what better way to celebrate your business achievements, than with a butler-served, silver-service, three-course lunch?
Originally established in 1717, Drummonds has served an exclusive array of clients, not least, the Queen herself. The current building, where the winners of this year’s NatWest EWIF Awards were hosted, has stood on the same corner of Charing Cross since 1881. Our butler shared a wonderful story of when Drummonds had set-up a drive-through bank in 1960, just in front of Admiralty’s Arch. On one occasion, the Queen Mother’s chauffeur-driven car pulled up, allowing her to withdraw money for a flurry on the horses. This building has seen a lot of stories, ours becoming one more.
In May, Encouraging Women into Franchising (EWIF) held their annual Awards, sponsored by NatWest. These awards are an opportunity to celebrate some of the outstanding contributions women in franchise make to the industry. NatWest, part of the same family of banks under RBS as Drummonds, also sponsor the winners’ lunch in September. “NatWest is also part of the RBS brand. Our combined history opened the door for us to be in the position to host the winners lunch at Drummonds,” explains Kate Pullum, NatWest Franchising Director. “For us at NatWest, it is massively important to celebrate the success of women in franchising. Bringing people together in such an historical building, gives them time to think about how they have achieved the success, and share their stories.”
As Hannah Drury, Louise Harris, Jane Maudsley, Jo Middleton, Fiona Boswell, Fiona Simpson and Ali Beckman gathered together in the Board Room, Head Butler, Guy, regaled us with a potted historical tour of some of the items in the room. Items included a dinosaur bone (what else would you expect to find in the building excavations, under London!), King George III’s signatures, and the Queen Mother’s old kneeling stool.  He also pointed out some of the changes Drummonds has witnessed to Central London since it was first established, along with interesting facts about London, most locals aren’t even aware of: Like Nelson’s spare nose!
Guy led us through around the building, pointing out the cheques on the wall, signed by King George III, and a beautifully written letter to Drummonds bank, from Queen Charlotte, to where our luncheon would be served in the “Trafalgar Room”. And as we were seated, Clive Sawyer, EWIF CEO, welcomed everyone, toasting the winners on the successes they had achieved. Seconded by Kate, who proposed another toast to the remarkable women.
Over luncheon, the conversation flowed as freely as the wine. The butlers have a rule about no glass being empty! One of the nicest aspects of being involved in Franchising, is the sense of togetherness. Even though franchisors operate across so many sectors, the sense of support and friendship around the table, made this event a special moment for the winners.
As we ate there were spectacular views over Trafalgar Square, and Buckingham Palace, through Admiralty Arch.
And the food? The food was first-rate!
Absolutely cooked to perfection, and tasted as you would expect, from chefs who regularly host royalty and celebrities, “Whomever I am serving, from Prince Andrew, to corporate bankers, everyone receives the same attention of service,” Guy explained.
“Having a winner’s celebration lunch is so important. It helps people recognise and remember why they achieved so much the previous year,” Explains Clive about why EWIF started hosting the Winners’ lunch over the last two years. “I’ve always believed it is important for our winners to promote women in franchising, and give the next generation something they can aspire to. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate everything women bring to franchising.”
If you have never considered entering the EWIF awards yourself, maybe you should. There are categories for franchisors, franchisees, and women who are employed in a franchise. Who knows, next year, you, or one of your franchisees, could be taking a seat at the salubrious Drummonds table, at the EWIF award-winners lunch, 2019.