Katherine Jenkinson, cellist of the Aquinas Piano Trio, was booked last week to play with her group at the Oriental Club in London’s West End.
The club is one of those crusty relics of empire that cling to the London scene by dint of a wealthy membership and a book of rules that makes the old boys feel distinguished. Katherine, to her dismay, fell foul of one of the club’s rules.
Katherine has an 11 week-old baby, Olivia. She turned up at the Oriental Club with Olivia and a baby-minder in the reasonable expectation that they could stay in her dressing room during the concert.
Not a chance. The club bye-laws, Katherine was told, refuse admission to children under the age of 12. No exceptions.
The Aquinas Trio performed Haydn G Major (Gypsy), followed by Saint-Saens from their recent CD. The second half was Mendelssohn C Minor.
During the concert, Katherine’s baby-minder had to walk Olivia around Marks & Spencer. In the interval, she brought Olivia to be breast-fed – not in the august premises of the Oriental Club, but in their car nearby on a freezing street.
Katherine tells Slipped Disc: ‘I’d arranged a second babysitter to be at home with my 4 year old son as I’m fully aware that it is often inappropriate to take children to such events. Does this really apply to a breastfed 11 week old babe in arms?
‘Our dressing rooms were two floors down with beds (prefect for looking after a baby). No sound could possibly have spilt to the concert or other events. I found the way they handled the whole situation very upsetting.’
The Oriental Club describes itself as ‘a Private Members Club with a colourful past and a bright future’. One somehow doubts that, on this form.
We have not approached the club for a comment. Dinosaurs cannot speak.