Little Known London - Savoy Court

  • Posted on 11th April 2017 by Guest - Emma

  • Everything about the Savoy is grand, from its dramatic Art Deco façade to the illuminated Savoy sign. The only way to arrive at this hotel is by taxi cabriolet or if you are lucky, one of the Savoy’s own Rolls Royce, via the short but significant road that leads up from The Strand to the liveried doormen waiting for you. You are entering the beautiful Savoy; the grand dame of London’s hotels, one of the most historic and well respected in the world.
     
    This is a unique hotel on many levels and its history is fascinating but if you look closely there is one thing that really makes The Savoy stand out - Savoy Court.  This little street is the only place in the UK where you drive on the right hand side of the road. You are probably wondering why this is. Firstly, Savoy Court is privately owned and thereby is not governed by the UK’s traffic regulations. Secondly, it was done for practical reasons. To understand this, I will take you back to 1904 when the road was incorporated into the Strand extension of the hotel. Imagine a horse-drawn carriage approaching the hotel, the driver seated on the right and a dignitary or a lady sat behind him. This was the respectable way to travel. As the carriage approached the hotel on the right hand side of the road, the door could be opened allowing them to walk straight into the hotel.  It was easier to make this small change to the road than to make all carriage and subsequent cars shift the placement of their respected guests riding in the cars. 
     
    This is still in practice today. As your knowledgeable cab driver approaches the hotel, your door will be opened by one of the doormen and you can make your own version of an entrance in to the hotel. Imagine the indignity of having a doorman run around the car to open the door on the roadside or worse still, having to open the door yourself and step out, potentially risking a contretemps with another driver – its just not the done thing!
     

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