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    Our Heritage

    A BRIEF HISTORY OF SEARCYS

    Searcys began with humble beginnings. Founder, John Searcys, began his journey as an apprentice pastry chef where he honed his craftsmanship for which Searcys has become well known today. Let's take you back to the 19th century where our story begins...

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    1813

    The Start

    John was born on January 13, 1813 in Middlesex St George’s, which is part of present-day London.

    1837

    Employed as the Private Confectioner

    At the age of 21, John became an apprentice as a baker and confectioner. His skill, artistry and exceptional talent became well known to the Duchess of Northumberland. She soon employed him as their private confectioner in 1837 at the Alnwick Castle where she and the third Duke of Northumberland lived.

    1847

    Setting Up For London

    Ten years later, the Duke of Northumberland passed away. Soon after, the Duke was succeeded by his brother, Lord Algernon Percy. During John’s service at Alnwick Castle, he realised how sought-after John really was for his flair for confections. John spoke with the new Duke and Duchess about starting his very own catering company. The Duke and Duchess both agreed, and even loaned him money to help start his venture. John packed up his mixing bowls and whisks and left for London in December 1847.

    1863

    The Best in London

    By the 1860s, John Searcy’s reputation had spread beyond London. Aristocrats and nobles would flock to the capital to host lavish balls and parties that were catered specifically by John. Searcy was particularly famed for his elaborately decorated wedding cakes that delighted brides and wedding guests alike with his exceptional artistry.  Through these operations, John Searcy also became officially recognised as a ‘rout furnisher’ - the first term coined for an events caterer, meaning he supplied equipment as well as his confections.

    1870

    Confectioner to HRH The Prince of Wales

    John Searcy received a Royal Warrant and the title ‘John Searcy, confectioner to HRH the Prince of Wales and wine merchant’ making him the top caterer, or rout furnisher, in his industry.

    1885

    A Royal Approval

    When his sons became of age, John adopted a new name for his business and traded as John Searcy & Sons. As Royal Warrant holders to the Prince of Wales, John Searcy & Sons’ position as leading caterers to the elite was now undisputed. By the 1880s, John’s services were increasingly in high demand. John Searcy retired and entrusted the business to his General Manager and good friend Henry Hobbs who had worked alongside Searcy as a pastry chef for over 30 years. 

    1893

    Wines Like No Other

    The first mention of Searcys own cuvée Champagne, something we’re proud to still offer today, dates back to 1893. That year’s catalogue called attention to the champagne specially prepared for and shipped by Searcys, the De Garnier et Cie 1893 vintage at 66s a dozen bottles. 

    1896

    Wedding of Princess Maud

    John Searcys & Sons were commissioned to make Princess Maud’s (the youngest daughter of Edward VII) wedding cake on July 22, 1896. Not long before the royal wedding, the business’s Chief Confectioner fell ill. John’s sons had planned to send a sincere note of apology to the palace that they could not fulfil their duties. When this news reached John, he told his sons to ‘dismiss all idea of cancellation’ and came out of retirement to make the wedding cake himself. Within days, John had created a magnificent five-tiered cake ‘fit for a princess’.

    1898

    A Legacy Continues

    On June 12, 1898, John Searcy passed away at 85 years old, just within a few months of his business’s Golden Jubilee. John Searcy & Sons soon amalgamated with George Tansley, ‘Ball and Concert Furnishers’, to become Searcy, Tansley and Company. This merger made us the largest catering company of our kind in Britain.

    1920

    Regina

    Over the coming decades, Searcys fame as cake-makers continued. In 1920, the Queen magazine wrote that ‘the company of Messrs Searcy, Tansley and Co is a godsend to the housekeeper. Should she be desirous of giving a party… all that is necessary is to ring up Victoria 2186 and discuss the matter with these experienced caterers. The cakes of Messrs Searcy have won a great reputation. A speciality of the firm is a biscuit called “Regina,” made with 24 egg whites, 2 lb sugar and 2 lb ground sweet almonds.

    1930

    A Cuvée of Success

    Throughout the 20s and 30s, more champagne was consumed than regular wine at the kind of special events Searcys ran. Dozens and dozens of cases of Mumm, Cordon Rouge and Bollinger passed through Searcys hands every night during the season. One of the company directors, John Searcy Physick, approached each occasion with ‘the enthusiasm of a producer and the shrewdness of a psychologist.” Following this long legacy, our own Searcys brut and rosé cuvées are enjoying phenomenal success and are very popular with guests across all our venues. 

    1939

    The Second World War

    On the eve of the Second World War, one of Searcys wrote to the Ministry of Works and asked whether he should stop catering for events, but he was told to do nothing of the sort, there was a place for outdoor catering on the home front even in a war. Searcys was also asked to open a restaurant for war workers on the first floor of 19 Sloane Street. As the war got underway, weddings were celebrated in the most modest ways, brides spent their rations on currants and brought them to Searcys to decorate their wedding cake.

    1953

    Londonderry House

    Coronations were something Searcys were accustomed to, the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in June 1953 was one of the busiest periods in our history. For three nights and two days leading up, Searcys lorries were making the rounds of houses on the procession route delivering lunches, teas and cocktails for the numerous parties held to watch the great event. One of the biggest and most elaborate of the parties was a special dinner for 100 and dance for 500 at Londonderry House in Mayfair.

    1963

    30 Pavilion Road

    Searcys opened our 30 Pavilion Road events venue in Knightsbridge, which was famed as THE party venue of the capital in the 1980s and 90s.

    1990

    The Barbican

    It wasn’t until 1990 that Searcys really transitioned into the venuefocussed business it is today. Our first catering contract was at The Barbican, then fairly newly built, which continues to be one of our key venues today.

    2002

    Vintners' Hall

    Searcys became the caterer at Vintners’ Hall. The Vintners’ Company, with its first Charter in 1363, is one of the Twelve Great Livery Companies of the City of London. With a history in the trade of wool and wine throughout the Middle Ages, it is the home of wine trade in England and boasts one of the oldest private dining rooms in London.

    2004

    Searcys Afternoon Tea

    Searcys opens The Pump Room Restaurant in Bath and Searcys Afternoon Tea is born. Built in the 1790s with its glittering chandeliers and a spa fountain, The Pump Room was famed as the destination for high society to meet and ‘take the waters’ from the hot springs and today is a mustvisit location in Bath.

    Afternoon Tea at the Pump Room Bath

    2007

    The Gherkin and St Pancras Champagne Bar

    Searcys became a restaurant and bar operator, launching the longest Champagne Bar in Europe and an all-day brasserie along the Eurostar concourse at St Pancras. This was a homecoming for Searcys long history in champagne, and a venue to celebrate our own cuvée. Searcys also launches the first skyscraper restaurant and events space at 30 Mary Axe, better known as the Gherkin.

    2011

    Blenheim Palace

    Blenheim Palace appoints Searcys as its official caterer to provide services at its event spaces, cafes and restaurants, including launching a popular afternoon tea offering.

    2012

    30 Euston Square

    Searcys becomes an official caterer at the Royal College of General Practitioners its headquarters, 30 Euston Square is launched.

    30 Euston Square Filming

    2019

    The Kings Fund and The Royal Institution

    Searcys is appointed caterer at both King’s Fund (No. 11 Cavendish Square) and The Royal Institution – elegant venues in the heart of London that offer a mix of period and contemporary spaces.

    The Royal Institution

    2021

    116 Pall Mall and Royal College of Surgeons

    Searcys becomes the official caterer at The Royal College of Surgeons of England and launches the brand new central London events spaces for the College, The View at Lincoln Inn’s Field. We also sign a partnership with 116 Pall Mall, and commercial launch our catering services for IoD members, events, a new Searcys Champagne Bar and afternoon tea at this magnificent venue.

    2022

    Celebrating 175 Years

    Searcys celebrates its 175th anniversary, with the launch of new premium Searcys Blanc de Blancs champagne and our first-ever English sparking wine. The Stationers’ Hall in the City appoints Searcys as its in-house caterer, in time for the venue’s relaunch in summer 2022. Searcys long-standing partner, The Inner Temple, launches its historic venue after a significant revamp.

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  • Searcys 175 Logo: 175 Years Together

    We are so thrilled to celebrate our 175th anniversary with you!

    To kick off our celebrations, we have pledged £175k to charities close to our hearts, including Beyond Food and Hotel School. We will also be offering one lucky winner the chance to win a Searcys wedding…on us! Plus, we are celebrating with a year of Champagne events (because 175 years means a lot of bubbles!).

    But that's not all. We want you to join in our year-long celebrations. Whether you're looking for an afternoon tea with friends or a Champagne Masterclass with family, we've got something for everyone to celebrate this special year.

  • WHAT'S ON

    SPOT SEARCYS CHAMPAGNE COUPE

    The Searcys Champagne Rolls-Royce is hitting the streets of London this Wednesday, 27th July and we’re giving anyone who spots it a FREE GLASS OF FIZZ.

    How to get your free bubbles...

    Spotted our Champagne Bar on wheels? Take a snap!
    Share your image on your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or TikTok! Don't forget to tag @SearcysLondon and use #Searcys.

    Pop on over to one of our Champagne Bars or Restaurants, show the team your post to receive your complimentary glass of bubbles with your meal. Enjoy!

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    SEARCYS 175K CHARITY PLEDGE

    In homage to founder John Searcy, we have launched the Searcys Charity Pledge, committing to raise a target of £175,000 in donations to nominated charities, including Hotel School and Beyond Food. This will be achieved across our venues, alongside donating workdays for each of our team members to take part in fundraising activities of their choice.

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    TOUR DE SEARCYS

    Ready to ride? Our team is embarking on a 175-mile bike tour as part of the Tour de Searcys. We are aiming to raise £17,500 for our charity partners which include Beyond Food and Hotel School. All donations, no matter how small, will be gratefully received and go towards helping some fabulous charities.

    The team led by Searcys Managing Director Paul Jackson, aims to complete the gruelling 175 mile ride over three days visiting all our London venues on Friday 29th July then cycling to Blenheim Palace on the Saturday and finally arriving at Bath Pump Rooms on Sunday 31st July. He will be supported on this quest by a number of Searcys team members including Peter Martin, Rebecca Hawkes, Charlie Richards, Kathryn Richmond, Darren Deadman and Greg Wojnowski.

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  • JOIN OUR CELEBRATIONS

    We're so excited to be kicking off our anniversary year with a calendar of events designed to bring together friends, family and co-workers alike.

    From Champagne masterclasses, jazz nights, wine dinners and new product launches, your year of celebrations starts here!

    Whether you're looking for a quick bite to eat on the way home from work or want to get your entire team together for an end of month blowout, we've got you covered. If you need to impress that special someone or want to celebrate with a glass of bubbly (or two), join us in one of our locations and let's celebrate!

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  • SEARCYS GIFT SHOP

    In celebration of our 175th anniversary, we are delighted to bring you a beautiful selection of Searcys gifts to delight someone special or to treat yourself. There's something about a glass of bubbly that just makes an occasion feel special. That's why we bring you, Searcys Champagne Delivery: you can get your bottle delivered straight to your home, with free delivery on orders over £90 and 48-hour delivery available nationwide.

    SHOP ALL GIFTS
  • SEARCYS ENGLISH SPARKLING

    Introducing our first-ever English Sparkling Wine. We've crafted an elegant sparkling wine that can be delivered straight to your doorstep. The Searcys Classic Cuvée is a blend of the three traditional Champagne grape varieties - Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Perfect for entertaining at home or enjoying with friends in our restaurants.

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    SEARCYS SELECTED CUVÉE CHAMPAGNE FLUTES GIFT SET

    Choose between Searcys Selected Cuvée, Brut, or Rosé Champagne for your Searcys Champagne Gift Set. Since they've become household names at Searcys' Champagne Bars, you can now toast with a set of our famous glass flutes, gently rounded for the best flavour and bubbles.

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    SEARCYS BLANC DE BLANCS

    With a limited production of only 5000 bottles, our new Searcys Blancs De Blancs is made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes and comes from an Ecocert-certified vineyard in Epernay in the heart of the Champagne region. Yellow-gold in colour, with notes of white flower, citrus and biscuity aromas and hints of fresh almond and lemon, the wine is the ideal celebratory tipple and pairs perfectly with seafood and grilled fish.

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