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The Groucho Club to launch first regional site in Yorkshire

The renowned Groucho Club of London is set to establish its first private members' club outside the capital, with plans to open in Yorkshire in 2026.

The Groucho Bretton will be situated in Bretton Hall, the former residence of Bretton Hall College. Historically, the college was renowned for its role in training artists to become educators, offering courses in music, visual arts, and performance art.

Notable alumni of the college encompassed various fields of the arts, including playwright John Godber, theatre director Michael Fentiman, actor and director Mark Gatiss, and comedian Mark Thomas.

In 2001, the college merged with Leeds University, following which the former school site was acquired by Wakefield Council.

The emergence of Groucho Bretton follows the acquisition of the original Groucho in London's Soho by hospitality group Artfarm in 2022. For nearly four decades, the club has served as a central gathering place for the arts, literature, and media community.

Groucho Bretton will be nestled within the expansive 500-acre landscape of Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP) in Wakefield. It is planned to encompass 40 bedrooms, welcoming both members and non-members. Non-members staying at the establishment will enjoy access to members' benefits throughout their visit.

Elli Jafari, the first female chief executive of Groucho, will spearhead the project. She will transition to this role from her current position at London's Standard hotel next month.

Ewan Venters, chief executive of Artfarm, said: 'This is possibly the most exciting venture in the 39-year history of the Groucho. We have done pop-ups at literary and music festivals in the past, but this will be the first time we have set up a permanent home outside of London's Soho.

'Groucho Bretton will have a life of its own, separate from the original Groucho, but equally with a uniquely eclectic style and personality rooted in both people and place.'

'The heritage of Bretton Hall is one of the factors that originally attracted us to this site, and our plans will be respectful of these traditions while reinventing its appeal by creating modern spaces for our members, new and old, locals or visitors, to work, to play, to meet, to take part in events and to help us turn Groucho Bretton into a place where everyone feels at home.

'We want people to feel they are part of a family and a community, not just a members' club.'

Artfarm's expanding hospitality collection encompasses notable establishments such as the Fife Arms in Braemar, Roth Bar and Grill in Somerset, Manuela in Los Angeles, and the recently launched Audley Public House and Mount St Restaurant and Rooms in London's Mayfair.

Artfarm, along with Yorkshire real estate investor Rushbond Group and Wakefield Council, have reached an agreement to collaborate on the development of the Bretton Hall site, with the backing of Yorkshire Sculpture Park (YSP).