‘When I first met Kaspar I knew immediately he would be the subject of my next novel.’ Michael Morpurgo, Author
The Savoy truly is a London landmark with a special place in British history. Opened in 1889, it was the first British hotel to make use of electric lights and electric lifts. The Savoy has since played host to royalty, world leaders and legends of the stage and screen – Edward VII, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman, Laurence Olivier, Marilyn Monroe and Noël Coward to name but a few.
For almost 90 years The Savoy has offered dining parties of thirteen the company of Kaspar the Cat. Now Kaspar’s Seafood Bar & Grill – The Savoy’s glamorous re-imagining of the River Restaurant – is a place for the Prince of Cats to play host.
Kaspar’s story begins in 1898, when South African diamond magnate Woolf Joel suddenly died. Just before his death, Joel hosted a dinner at The Savoy for fourteen guests. At the last minute one of them cancelled. Joel decided the dinner should go ahead, but a more superstitious guest declared death would befall the first person to leave the table. Woolf Joel defiantly decided to take the gamble himself. Weeks later he was shot dead in Johannesburg.
Anxious to avoid a repeat of such ill fate, The Savoy decided to provide an extra guest for every table of thirteen. Initially the hotel had a member of staff sit amongst the diners, but this proved unpopular. Guests felt unable to discuss their private matters freely. Thus, in a stroke of genius, Kaspar was created – sculpted into life by architect Basil Ionides in 1926.
Kaspar is delighted, to this day, to join tables of thirteen – napkin round his neck, a full place-setting before him, ready to enjoy every course he is served.