googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: Kaspar, the wonderful Savoy Hotel cat

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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Kaspar, the wonderful Savoy Hotel cat

There is a delightful cat ‘living’ in the Savoy Hotel in London, with a fascinating tale to tell of its life.

It all started way back in 1898 when a South African mining magnate hosted a table with fourteen guests, but the number was reduced to thirteen by a cancellation. When told that 13 was an unlucky number, the tycoon scoffed and finished his meal in the Savoy Hotel.
Kaspar, the 14th guest

A few weeks later he was shot to death in his office in Johannesburg.

For thirty years or so the Savoy Hotel made sure to seat one of its own staff at any dinner table that had only 13 diners, just in case!
Winston Churchill

Then in 1926 an architect and sculptor named Basil Ionides was tasked with carving a cat from a single piece of London plane to take the place of the staff at tables with only 13 guests. Today, Kaspar, the three foot high black cat, lives in its own display case in the entrance hall at the hotel.

When Kaspar is seated at a table to round the number out to 14, a napkin is tied around his neck, and he is served every dish.

Kaspar had one powerful admirer: Winston Churchill, who insisted that Kaspar sit at the table of every meeting of The Other Club, his political dining club.

The things you dredge up when you dive down the rabbit holes while researching your next novel!

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