Groucho Club to open a base in West Yorkshire

The Groucho Club, a private members’ club known for its 39-year history in London’s Soho district, is reportedly expanding for the first time to Yorkshire.

The Guardian says the club’s first outpost outside London will be at Bretton Hall in Wakefield, a former arts education facility within the grounds of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, which will be turned into a club and hotel with around 60 rooms.

The Groucho Club was founded in 1985 by a group of publishers and agents including Carmen Callil and Liz Calder, and currently has 5,000 members.

It fostered a creative membership which included members of Blur and Damien Hirst, alongside Tracey Emin and Francis Bacon.

Hauser & Wirth, the international gallerists, acquired the club in August 2022. Ewan Venters, CEO of Artfarm and Hauser & Wirth, told the Guardian that the Wakefield location will offer a programme of music, performance arts and lectures.

He added the Yorkshire venture – in partnership with retail investor Rushbond Group which has bought several sites in the county – will be very different from the club’s Soho House expansions.

Venters said he expects the Wakefield branch’s core membership to be drawn from the creative communities in Leeds and from as far afield as Manchester.

He said: “I expect members to travel up to an hour, which isn’t that different from the Groucho in Soho.”