Peter Stringfellow’s throne snapped up in Yorkshire

An iconic throne owned by the late nightclub entrepreneur Peter Stringfellow has been snapped up by a Yorkshire businessman inspired by the ‘King of Clubs’ – and he hopes Peter’s joie de vivre will rub off on him.

The gold throne which once seated the Sheffield-born celebrity, who ran clubs in Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, London and the USA, has been bought at auction by Leeds-based businessman Chris Howard, owner of the Aire Bar in The Calls area of the city.

A gold throne that belonged to Peter Stringfellow
Credit: Mark Laban/Hansons

The gold throne, used by Peter and VIPs at Stringfellow’s Covent Garden and Angel’s in Soho, went under the hammer at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire recently after Peter’s son, Scott Stringfellow, reluctantly decided to part with it. Chris paid a hammer price of £3,600 for the throne – double its £1,500-£2,000 estimate.

Chris said: “I run a hospitality business – bars, pubs, nightclubs and restaurants – and have done so for over 25 years. We operate nationwide but are based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, very close to where Peter started his journey. Peter was a cultural icon and has always been an industry hero for me. I’ve sat in the throne before in Stringfellow’s but unfortunately I never had the opportunity to meet Peter.

A lion's head on Peter Stringfellow's gold throne
Lion on Peter Stringfellow throne, damaged by his ring for media – credit: Mark Laban/Hansons

“When I saw the throne was coming up for auction it evoked mixed emotions, due in part to the turmoil my industry has endured during Covid, and now the cost-of-living crisis, and because Peter was such a character – unfortunately no longer with us. So, I went way over my original maximum bid and still can’t quite believe I was the successful bidder. It was really a must-have for me because he evoked so much of why I even became part of this industry. I would love to place it in one of my bars, as Peter did. But as custodian of such an iconic, almost Pop Art, piece of furniture I think it will take pride of place at the head of my dining table in the family home, and I hope some of Peter’s flamboyancy, panache and joie de vivre rubs off on me and my family!”

Late nightclub owner Peter Stringfellow
Peter Stringfellow. Credit: Scott Stringfellow

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons Auctioneers, said: “We are absolutely delighted for Chris. It’s wonderful to know the throne will be treasured by someone inspired by Peter’s entrepreneurial spirit and Yorkshire grit. Peter and Chris are forever connected by their passion for the hospitality industry. It’s pleasing to see the Stringfellow magic live on.”

Scott Stringfellow, 56, from Buckinghamshire, a track specialist racing driving instructor and safety car driver for the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) and support races, said: “It was quite a hard decision to part with the throne but as I’m planning to move and set up home with my fiancée, I need to make room and move larger furniture on. As much as I love the throne, I need to create space to share my life with my future wife.

“Dad always sat in this chair, his throne. In fact, over the years it developed some tell-tale signs of his use. The ornate arms are decorated with lions’ heads but on the right arm the nose of the lion is worn and damaged. That’s where dad used to tap his ring. Later on, after he remarried for the third time, his left-hand ring finger also began to make its mark on the chair. Dad had two thrones but the one sold at auction is the one he used regularly. He had both thrones recovered in black velvet when he changed the décor of Stringfellow’s restaurant. The throne’s gold spray paint is worn in places including the ornate spires. This is where, over time, various people would hold the throne when leaning in to talk to dad. I used to work at dad’s club and sat on his throne, usually towards the end of the night with a coffee or a cup of tea.  I don’t know where dad got it from.”

Peter Stringfellow (1940-2018) came from humble beginnings and 11-plus failure to build one of the world’s best known nightclub empires. It started in his home city of Sheffield in 1962 when he rented a church hall on a Friday night, called it the Black Cat Club and began hosting bands. He went on to open UK clubs in Leeds, Manchester and London. He later expanded to the United States with clubs in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.

His efforts to become a self-made man were triggered by his struggle to find work after being convicted of selling stolen carpets in 1962. He died of lung cancer at the age of 77.

Alongside Peter Stringfellow’s throne, a leopard-print tub chair from Angels Club in Soho hammered at £200.