Costume Inspiration: Kate Meyrick “Club Owner”

One of the frequent haunts of the Bright Young Things was  the 43 Club which was named after the clubs address at 43 Gerrard Street in the Soho neighborhood of London. Meyrick is a movie story waiting to happen, not to mention a book. She was left by her husband after the birth of her 8th child and took on a family bar space and converted it into night club in the early 1920’s. She managed to go to prison 5 times during her career as a club owner. The first raid on her establishment was in 1922. The raid was orchestrated by a police officer named Goddard who later charge her 100 pounds a week for protection. Goddard ended up collecting 12,000 pounds by the second raid, orchestrated by him again. 

Kate and Guests at the Kit-Kat Club after one her later releases. Notice her frailness more self-evident.

Kate and Guests at the Kit-Kat Club after one her later releases. Notice her frailness more self-evident.

After each release a large party was thrown in her honor at either one of clubs or someplace else that was more ritzy like the Kit-Kat Club. Meyrick was a wealthy woman by the mid-20’s thanks in part to opening other night clubs around London. She owned the Silver Slipper with it’s glass dance floor and the Manhattan Club on Denman Street in London. She also managed to wiggle her way into the show Follies Bergères as full partner. By the late 20’s she had become a successful businesswoman in her own right and with the marriage of one of her daughters to a Baron, a new circle of clientele had opened up to her socially.

By the late 20’s the police raids were taking a toll on Meyrick’s businesses and her incarcerations were taking a great toll on her health. With the crash of 1929 came the slow dimming of the night life lights in London. In the late 30’s Kate was losing business after business and in 1933 she died from phenomena. Kate was a resourceful woman who built her own empire and she truly encapsulates the modern european woman, a feminist who lived outside of the prescribed roles that London society expected. In today’s standards she was a woman who had control but was still fighting the system. How sad 80+ years later she’s would still be fighting the system. 

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