Linkam celebrated its 30th anniversary last weekend with a night in The Savoy Hotel and The Hippodrome Casino in London.
We were picked up from Linkam by the green Harrods routemaster bus. It was a cosy, slightly bumpy ride, although the minor discomfort was more than made up for by the excited atmosphere within and without. Inside, the partygoers were boisterous and loud, and outside the distinctive bus caused many heads to turn as we wound our way through morning traffic towards the store.
Inside Harrods we spent a lazy hour picking up a few well-deserved presents. All of us were given a gift card from Linkam to spend as we liked in the various departments. Each department seemed bigger than the last with too many things to see; you'd need a day, or two, to see the whole of the store. I spent some time in one of my favourite parts, the tea and chocolate section, where everything looked delicious; with difficulty I confined myself to one box of chocolates (this time).
The hour spent here was especially poignant as this was the late Louise Kamp’s favourite store and we were glad to be able to pay tribute to a lady who was both a founder of Linkam Scientific Instruments and an instrumental part of the companies early and continued success
After Harrods we had lunch at The Savoy, instantly recognisable with its iconic art deco sign. The name conjures up images of old-style Hollywood glamour and it didn’t disappoint. It is one of London’s grandest hotels and stars such as Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, Frank Sinatra and whole host of VIPs have stayed within its impressive confines. As you entered, you couldn’t help but feel a sense of anticipation, wondering just who might have walked through the doors and who you might meet. A celebrity? Royalty?
We were ushered into The River Room, an elegant and modern location, famous for being where in 1946 the then Princess Elizabeth was seen in public for the first time with her soon to be husband, Prince Philip of Greece. After a light lunch of sandwiches and cakes we checked into our rooms which were either decked out in the clean lines of Edwardian elegance, or the inviting and distinctive Art Deco style. There was little time to bask in the luxury (I managed to slip down to the American Bar and try one of their amazing cocktails – the Savoy Daisy) as it was time to get ready for the next part of our adventure.
That evening we had our party at The Hippodrome. The 112-year-old Grade-II listed building on the corner of Leicester Square and Charing Cross Road has been reborn as London’s first and largest 93,000 sq ft casino. After a multi-million pound renovation the building now features three floors of gambling, five bars, a dedicated poker floor, an intimate cabaret theatre and the high energy Heliot restaurant and lounge. The building is steeped in the rich history of London: it was here you could have seen acrobats and live animals perform at the turn of the century or been in the front row of the premier of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in 1910. From 1958 to the present day the Hippodrome has hosted some of the most iconic artists of the 20th century, including Diana Ross, Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey, Tom Jones and more, not to mention the rich and royalty who have sauntered through those doors.
On Saturday night we listened to Broadway cabaret artist Judy Kuhn, the voice of 'Pocahontas' and star of 'Les Miserables'. Accompanied by a glass of champagne we heard her rich and emotive songs and it was a great start to a night of celebration. With the soft croon of her voice still filling our minds we sat down at the green felt tables for a lesson in roulette and blackjack.
Hands came and went, and the wheel of fortune spun as hopes rose and descended, tables emptying until only a few stayed on to win big. At the end of the evening at the casino some were winners, some were losers.
But in the light of day it could be said we were all winners; we have had the amazing luck to end up at Linkam and now have memories of a great night that will last a lifetime. In these uncertain times I'd call that a big win. I would like to offer a big thanks to everyone who made the night what it was – Vince, Arnold, Craig – and all the Linkam staff.
By Caroline Feltham