For Infosec 2015 so much has changed. After years of being at Earls Court, the show’s going back to Olympia. Having always been in April, it’s now moving to June and after more than a decade of The Portcullis Arms, we are closed for refurbishment, at least for this year.
From its humble beginning’s in 2004, when The Portcullis Arms operated from the small function room, upstairs at The Hand and Flower, it has grown considerably over the years. As Infosec grew, the show moved to Earls Court to have more space. The Portcullis Arms also moved to The Prince of Wales where we were able to hire the whole pub (not just a function room) and expand our operation too! Over time the number of invited guests enjoying the sanctuary offered by our famous hostelry grew and grew. For some years now, our popular pub, though much bigger, has been full to bursting during the busy lunch times. I am never happier than when I’m in a busy pub with friends and have always wished that we could host The Portcullis Arms all year round!
Portcullis as a business has also grown considerably. Last summer we moved to a new Head Quarters which is several times larger that our old offices. Our new home has a permanent Portcullis Arms hospitality facility on the first floor where our usual warm welcome is extended to all who visit us.
So in a number of ways “the times they are a changing” and as we all know Earls Court is being redeveloped. The venue so many of us associate with going to see bands when we were teenagers, which has hosted the Ideal Home Exhibition for generations and even played its part in the 2012 Olympics, is no more. As Infosec returns to its original home at Olympia, sadly The Portcullis Arms can no longer return to our original home at The Hand and Flower. The old function room there is about the size of the reception area of The Portcullis Arms we have come to know at Earls Court and you can’t get a quart into a pint pot. It would be like trying to get me back into 30inch waist trousers. A nice idea but impossible!
If we were to host our event back at The Hand and Flower we would have to cut the guest list down by 90 per cent. For every friend we welcomed back, we would have to tell nine others that there was no room in the inn for them! What would be the point of running a hospitality event that excluded and upset the vast majority of our friends, so that we could please a tiny minority? That would be bad marketing and appalling PR.
I tried my hardest with the brewery Fuller’s to persuade and then beg them to let me hire the whole pub. I knew we could pack it out and their tills would not stop ringing for three days. However as a matter of company policy they would not allow me to close their pub to everyone else but our guests for three days. So doing what we believe is for “the greatest good of the greatest number” Portcullis have decided to ride this year out, see how things settle and hopefully open our doors somewhere in 2016.
This is not to say that we won’t be around. During Infosec week the Portcullis team will be at the show and meeting up with clients for a beer or two. Maybe we’ll see you there.
- Clive Room