PIN Crocker's Folly
The White Elephant of St.John's Woods
Crocker's Folly is a beautifully appointed restaurant in North-West London nestled in the heart of St.John’s Wood. It is presided over by master chef Marouf Abouzaki who cooks great food, much of which is inspired by his Lebanese roots. Visitors can also partake of the many superb Lebanese wines and experience the finest, freshest dishes in any of the three very spacious dining rooms.
The 1898 Bar prepares many great cocktails and top quality dining can be sampled in the Marble Room. The more intimate Lords Dining Room provides more top quality and on fine summer evenings, customers can eat on the Outdoor Terrace. The Lords Dining room is a good venue for special occasions.
Whilst today the dining rooms might provide an epic meal, the back-story to Crockers Folly is breath-taking. This was once a vast Victorian gin palace built in the late nineteenth century by speculator Frank Crocker. He christened it ‘The Crown Hotel’ expecting to capitalise on the stream of hungry customers arriving in London every day and alighting at the nearby (planned) railway terminal in St.Johns Wood. Crocker’s main problem was that this customer base never materialised nor did the terminal for the Grand Central Railway pushed on past his pub and built it at the more logical destination of Marylebone.
Despite the early probability of the station being at the same location of the Crocker's Folly the local residents of St. Johns Wood were never going to let such a tawdry building as a railway terminal blight their pristine Victorian neighbourhood. Such was the weight (and cost) of the august opposition led by the residents that the railway authorities thought again. At first, they tried to accommodate the protestors even spending a small fortune surveying and excavating a tunnel under the MCCs outfield. Finally cost and ill-feeling caused the abandonment of the St.Johns Wood terminal, the world and the Grand Central Railway moved on.
Sadly all sides lost: the resident’s vista was reduced by the partial development, already completed, the railway lost much of their cash and Frank Crocker had no customers. Today visitors to Marylebone station might notice that it is comparatively modest compared to other London stations which is the direct result of the Victorian developers’ budget being eaten up in St. Johns Wood.
The Crown Hotel or Crocker’s Folly fell into disrepair and the fantastic and elaborate construction sat forgotten and forlorn. It carried on life as a local pub albeit in reduced circumstances until it was bought in 2014 by Maroush, a group of Lebanese restaurants and restored. Frank Crocker died of natural causes at the age of 41 but his ghost is still said to haunt the building.
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LocationCrocker’s Folly , 24 Aberdeen Place , St John's Wood, London , NW8 8JR (View on Google Maps)
Lebanese cusine with a great story