Babington 25: Meet the members of our original rural retreat

Babington 25: Meet the members of our original 
rural retreat | Soho House

As our first countryside escape in the UK turns 25, we meet 10 members bringing the life and soul

Monday 15 May 2023   By Soho House   Photography by Mark Anthony Fox Hair and makeup by Liz Daxauer

Each of our Houses is unique, but as our second-ever club and first countryside outpost there’s a special place in our hearts for Babington House. The honey-hued Georgian manor is the birthplace of Cowshed and the original home of garden-to-table dining, but it has also played host to some of our most memorable member moments over the past 25 years; from parties and weddings to post-Glastonbury wind-downs. 

This summer, expect even more memories to be made as Babington House celebrates its 25th year. For wellness fans, relaxation begins in the Cowshed spa, with the 25 Years: Deep Tissue Massage with Hypervolt 2 Pro and the Babington Botanical Facial (which is exclusive to the House and uses ingredients sourced directly from the Walled Garden). Acupuncturist Ross J Barr will also be on hand for an exclusive residency at the House on Tuesday 23 and Wednesday 24 May, delivering Five Element Acupuncture to relieve stress, anxiety and low energy levels. Later in the summer, we’ll be hosting a series of supper clubs, joined by some of the biggest and most exciting names in food. And, of course, we’ll also be shining a light on Babington’s local creative scene, with art and design events celebrating everything that makes the community so special.

But as ever, it’s our members who bring the real magic. As Soho House’ Founder Nick Jones says, ‘it’s not about one set – our Houses should be filled with creatives of all ages’ and we’re proud that Babington is a home away from home for every type of member. Musicians, designers, writers, directors and now the next generation of creatives – we’re celebrating the best of Babington with the people who make it. 

Keep reading for tales from 10 of our most dedicated members, featuring skinny dipping, a post-lockdown blowout and ultimate date nights. 

Babington 25: Meet the members of our original 
rural retreat | Soho House

1. Pearl Lowe, designer 
Pearl Lowe is known for her kaleidoscope of talents, having perfected her hand at everything from songwriting to fashion design. She has been a Soho House member since 1996, and while she’s spent many nights in our London Houses, nowadays she lives in Frome with her partner Danny Goffey and their three children, not far from Babington House. It’s been the setting for some special memories for Lowe – where she celebrated with friends after her 30th birthday (the main bash taking place at 40 Greek Street), and got married to Goffey in 2008. 

‘It’s like one big, happy family,’ says Lowe of Babington House. ‘If I’m having a bad day, I pop in there and I’ll always see lovely people – and the mood of the place lifts me. I swim there every morning and, to be honest, I don’t think I would have lived in the countryside so long if it wasn’t for Babington.’ Lowe’s advice on how to get the most out of a day there? ‘Ask for the Pearl salad. There used to be a delicious salmon, beetroot, feta and quinoa salad that I loved so much; I would ask for it when it wasn’t on the menu. All of my friends caught on, and eventually the General Manager Neil [Smith] named it after me.’ 

'It's like one big, happy family. If I'm having a bad day, I pop in there and I'll always see lovely people - and the mood of the place lifts me'

2. Ross Wilson, Babington House resident DJ 
The Houses are all about fusing work and play. One member who does this expertly is music advisor, brand consultant and Babington’s resident DJ, Ross Wilson. After visiting our Houses in London and New York with friends, Wilson – who lives just 15 minutes away from Babington with his partner, two boys, rescue dogs and cat Lulu – was invited to play at the first of what would be many late-night parties. 

He became a member five years ago, and says he uses the House to meet other creatives. You’ll usually find him DJing poolside all summer long, with an extra-spicy Picante in hand, especially on a hot day. ‘Babington held a Bonfire Night party just after the lockdown restrictions had been lifted and the energy was electric,’ says Wilson. ‘It was very special watching people come together and let loose after such a difficult time. The dance floor was full from start to finish; it was amazing to see the House so alive.’

Babington 25: Meet the members of our original 
rural retreat | Soho House
Babington 25: Meet the members of our original 
rural retreat | Soho House

3. Audrey Greensmith, actor 
Babington is a home away from home for its members, but few can say they actually grew up there. Audrey Greensmith, a Somerset local who is finishing her last year of college, has been visiting the House since she was a baby. ‘Babington is like family to me. It’s been a huge part of my life and where some of my dearest memories have been made.’ 

For Greensmith, trips there are very much a family affair and you’ll usually find her sitting by the pool chatting to her mum over a Mojito. Her ideal day starts with Eggs Benedict in the main restaurant where ‘the vibes are unmatched’, before a gym session and swim, and a well-earned slice of Margherita pizza. Her favourite time at Babington is summer, when she says ‘the pool makes the tedious English heat feel like a vacation abroad’. With school firmly behind her, Greensmith is focusing on her career as an aspiring actor, and with parentage that includes an award-winning film director and seasoned rock ‘n’ roll musician, it’s hardly surprising she’s meant for the stage. Watch this space.

4. Simon Morray-Jones, architect 

Back when Babington House was just a twinkle in Nick Jones’s eye, Simon Morray-Jones was one of the first on the scene, tasked with scoping out the architectural implications of transforming the historic family home into the club we know today. Morray-Jones has been on the Babington founding committee for 25 years and credits the House as the setting for meeting, and marrying, the love of his life. 

‘My best Babington moment? It has to be my first date with my wife Berni,’ he says. ‘She told me – “let’s have lunch, and bring your swimmers.” It was a day of perfect sun, followed by a sky full of stars. You might call it a very extended lunch.’ From saying his vows in the chapel to skinny dipping in the pool (‘I was younger then’) and many moments in between – including rubbing shoulders with Van Morrison, festivals, Christmas by the log fires, films and even camping out on the lawn – he says the best feeling is turning onto the drive and letting the world fall away.