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Biographical on Capt. G. Halsey

Biographical Page on Capt. G. Halsey ‘ Night Club King ‘

1900 – 1923 Halsey Family Connections with La Cote d’Azur
My family have enjoyed a love affair with the Cote d’Azur ever since 1900. When my grandfather, Warner Halsey of The Bank of England who resided at Wrey Lodge, Maidenhead, Berkshire, travelled down aboard private rail cars owned by a New York multi-millionaire(a client of the Bank of England ) on the Paris to Genoa Express where this train stopped by prior arrangement at the Carrara marble private rail halt above his palatial villa below Roquebrune, near Monte Carlo that was accessed from the halt by his private funicular rail car. My father, later known internationally as Captain Gordon Halsey, then aged seven years old was amongst the guests at this villa. He was so enamoured with the climate and ambience of La Cote d’ Azur, that he continually returned to the coast during the Edwardian Period leading up to the First World War which rudely interrupted his sojourns here .

1919 Captain Gordon Halsey @ St. Jean Cap Ferrat, Cote d’Azur

Following the First World War, Halsey returned to the Cote d’ Azur as the guest of the immensely wealthy English industrialist Sir Robert Hadfield and Lady Hatfield at their palatia Italianate Villa La Saungerallo situated just beyond the charming port of St. Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Set amidst magnificent semi-tropical gardens above superb waterfrontage facilities with a private quay and swimming pool. Sir Robert Hadfield then controlled one of the largest steel foundries in the world. The Hadfield Steel Foundry at Sheffield,  were makers of high quality, state of the art steel products. Lady Hadfield was a leading international ‘ Society Hostess ‘ of the period, who entertained on a royal scale. She also surrounded herself with attractive educated, very gifted, young people, many of whom she helped make a social and commercial success of their lives such as Edward Molyneux. An Englishman, who later became one of the leading ‘Haute Couturiers’ in Paris for many years. Halsey made the Villa La Saungerallo his home for a year. Until being invited  by the De Langleys of Chateau de Theoule, near Cannes to landscape and design marine facilities on their water frontage below the chateau and to build a vehicular track up to a ruined Saracen stronghold for enjoying al fresco luncheons in style within the privacy of their domain in L’ Esterel Massif.

1920 – 23 Sojourn @ Chateau de Theoule, Theoule, nr. Cannes
Whilst on La Cote d’ Azur Gordon Halsey met the De Langleys, in 1920 who then owned the Chateau de Theoule at Theoule on the Cote d’ Azur near Cannes. My father was invited to stay and was a guest at the chateau until 1923 in between brief sojourns around Europe and in England. Whilst a Chateau de Theoule he was involved in creating the harbour and marine facilties in the cove below the chateau and created a route up into L’Esterel Massif behind Theoule for picnics at a ruined Saracen stronghold on land that formed part of the domain of the Chateau de Theoule. Amongst the international luminaries who were then guests at the chateau was His Imperial Highness, the Grand Duke Kirill of Russia, who had escaped the Russian Bolshevik Revolution and was the most senior surviving member of the Russian Imperial Family.

1923 Captain Gordon Halsey return to England
Captain Gordon Halsey, returned from the Cote d’Azur in 1923 following the death of his Ada Halsey mother, my grandmother. Who through her husband Warner Halsey at The Bank of England had been a ‘Society Hostess’ to many luminaries of the period at Wrey Lodge and at her London house in the Nash Terraces in Regents Park. Amongst her regular guests over many years was His Royal Highness Edward Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII Whom my grandfather was once of within his circle of friends with whom the Edward enjoyed playing cards, a shared love of the theatre and those who appeared on the stage both in London and in Paris. Hence my father grew up amongst a most rarefied group of Edwardian society both in England and when abroad that he later employed to his great benefit over many years through his unique role as a ‘doyen’ of fashionable ‘London Nightlife’ during the ‘Roaring Twenties’ 1920′s and 1930′s..At a period when those who had survived the horrors of the 1914-1918 First World War wished to enjoy life to the full and celebrate simply being still alive. Following a period in which millions lost their lives, many had lost their kingdoms and many more much else besides. Hence so many with the wherewithal who had witnessed or grown up during the First World War sought to indulge themselves in a manner that involved conspicuous enjoyment of everything that life had to offer within a greatly changed and modernising world.

1923 – 1926 Early Days as a stylish ‘ Nightclub Entrepeneur ‘ in Mayfair, London.
Most members were already listed in his private address book!

Gordon Halsey made his first foray into London nigh clubs, through a ‘ High Society night haunt ‘ at The Grafton Galleries, Grafton Street, Mayfair. A most successful venture until raidedby the Police and closed. Halsey immediately opened another nightclub for his ‘Society friends ‘ with whom he had developed a following, at a venue called The Lambs in Leicester Square which was also raided by the Police and closed. He then bought a 33% interest in a nightclub owned by his friends Desmond Young and Captain Dawes called The Quadrant, in Air Street, between Regent Street and Piccadilly in Mayfair which Halsey promptly had re-decorated in the style that suited his own followers and hosted a grand re-opening of this now much glamourised and more luxurious venue.

Part two