Venue consortium Unique Venues of London turned 25 in 2018, for the October 2018 issue EN spoke to managing director Lisa Hatswell about her early life and joining UVL.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Lancashire and grew up in Hertfordshire with my mum, dad and older sister.
What was your first job?
It was a Saturday job in a coffee shop within a furniture store. It was one of my favourite jobs as the team I worked with were so much fun! If you ever need me to make a toasted sandwich I’m an expert!
Do you have any stories to tell from your first couple of jobs?
One of my first jobs while still at university was breakfast chef at a local hotel. I remember calling my mum to ask “how do you cook kippers!”. It was one of many jobs I had that summer including housekeeping and waitressing. The waitressing also took me to The Grove, then owned by British Rail, and it certainly looked very different than it does today.
How did you get into events?
From an early age I always loved the hospitality industry and decided to go to university to study a degree in Hospitality Management.
What do you enjoy most about this industry?
The diversity – no two days are ever the same.
What’s the biggest topic that needs addressing in the industry?
Sustainability in the hospitality industry; we are seeing some changes but I am sure pressure will increase for us all to make more.
What do you do at the weekends?
You will find me on the side of a pitch, be it rugby, football or cricket watching my son.
Tell me about your favourite event that you’ve worked on?
One of my favourite events I have worked on was in 2000 which was a BAFTA after party for Michael Caine at the Titanic – a restaurant owned then by Marco Pierre White. It even included real min cars as part of the décor. The celeb spotting was great!
Can you offer any facts/stories about yourself that the industry might not know about?
Prior to 2000 I worked for Roux Fine Dining at the London Underwriting Centre and then helped to open Tower 42 with its restaurants and private event spaces.
How did you first get involved with Unique Venues of London?
I first got involved with UVL in 2001 when I worked for Madame Tussauds and the London Eye. I joined their marketing committee to see how I could help and to learn more from other venues.
How has the consortium evolved over the past 25 years?
The consortium when I joined was very much about helping each other and undertaking some marketing activity, all on a voluntary basis.
Over the years the number of venues we have within our collection has grown and our activities have increased but we are still there to support members who work in venues whose primary purpose is that other than hospitality and events and the challenges that occur with such buildings and we also provide clients assistance in researching these venues and can provide them with expert knowledge as we are the venues themselves.
What do you think makes the venues in UVL special?
Every venue we have within our collection is special and unique and a one off. They all differ in style and offering and provide the true essence of London.
What does the future hold for UVL?
As we celebrate our 25th year we now stand at 89 venues within our collection and we continue with the same ethos to look after them and to share their knowledge and expertise to the rest of the industry and to clients holding events within them.