Nick House and Piers Adam of Brompton Brands came to us with a brief to create a new brasserie in the heart of Chelsea. We relished the challenge and looked into the history of some of the great wars of olde and with the Chelsea Barracks in shooting range. This was great inspiration and the scarlet red banquette seating with 220 jacket buttons from every single British Armed Forces regiment sewn into the back. It is said that back in 1863 the Markham quickly garnered a reputation as a pub where explorers and travelers, such as Sir Clements Robert Markham, secretary of The Royal Geographic Society would congregate to exchange stories and make plans. Another regular at the Markham’s bar was the insatiably plucky Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, aka “the bravest man in Britain”, whose party tricks included vaulting billiard tables and tying fire pokers into knots.
Burnaby would go on to became a best-selling novelist and founding writer at Vanity fair magazine but not before he’d survived frostbite, typhus, an exploding air balloon, and poisoning with arsenic; explored Uzbekistan (so cold, his beard froze solid and snapped off) led The Household Cavalry, stood for parliament, mastered seven languages, crossed the channel by air and commanded the Turkish army.