here you will do well to linger; here our highest good is pleasure”

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Quo Vadis

December 22, 2019

Whither goest thou? - is the poetic translation of the Latin saying “Quo Vadis” and it is the name of the Soho members club which is now serving up Broken Clock Vodka in its stylish cocktail bar and dining rooms.

The forward thinking expression - an alternative meaning for which is “Where are you marching?” - originates from a 4th Century Latin version of the bible and the motto perfectly suits the 93 year old club’s progressively minded members and the modern artwork adorning the walls. DSC01118_19-11-30_Broken_Clock_Longering_Vodka_Quo-Vadis_11.jpg However it is a retrospective look at Quo Vadis and its historic address in Soho which is perhaps most fascinating.

The plush, labyrinth-like venue is set across three floors at 26-29 Dean Street but started life as a collection of busy brothels which were eventually knocked through. DSC01053_19-11-30_Broken_Clock_Lingering_Vodka_Quo-Vadis_Martini-time_45.jpg No. 29’s first famous resident was Joseph Nollekens R.A. (11 August 1737 – 23 April 1823) who is widely considered the greatest British sculptor of the Georgian era.

Shortly afterwards it was the home of French violinist and composer François Hippolyte Barthélemon (27 July 1741 – 20 July 1808) whose dashing style and comical operatic works were a hit with London’s upper classes.

But it is one of the World’s most influential characters who resided at no. 28 with his family from 1851 to 1856 and who is perhaps the buildings’ most infamous inhabitant.

Having been exiled from Germany for his political beliefs, Karl Marx lived in what was described as an “old hovel” in the building just a few years after writing his seminal Communist Manifesto. Indeed had you been there to ask him “Quo Vadis” little would he have known his socialist movement would soon be marching it’s way around the globe.