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The Brewery’s longest-standing employee, Martin Bennewith, talks hats, PMs and babysitting monkeys
If the historic brickwork of The Brewery could speak, it’d have some tales to tell. Since its conversion from hop-churner to event space over 10 years ago, the venue has played host to countless high-profile events, entertaining nearly 600 groups a year in its magnificent rooms.
There to welcome them all with a disarming smile and a nod is head doorman Martin Bennewith. Sporting a classic black bowler, his millinery often becomes a memorable part of events here.
In his years manning the entrance, Bennewith has greeted everyone from PM to popstar: ‘I’ve welcomed in over a million guests in my time at the Brewery,’ he says. ‘I started here over 10 years ago as a cloakroom attendant and soon moved onto the door. I love working here. No two days are the same.’
With regular high-profile events such as the Kerrang! and Mojo awards, the stream of glitterati through Bennewith’s doors is constant and he’s only too happy to help out in any way he can: ‘Fall Out Boy were in for the Kerrang! Awards. One of them passed me something and asked me to look after it – it was a pet monkey! I ended up babysitting it for the whole ceremony. I once had to hold onto a snake too, come to think of it.’
As the first and last person guests see at the Brewery, he views his role as an ambassador for the venue – guests may forget the intricate signage posted above the door, but the face they see beneath it is more likely to stick in their mind. Sometimes though it’s the guests who leave their mark on him. ‘Welcoming Gordon Brown for a political conference last year is a moment I won’t forget; something that made me very proud to be here.’
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This article first appeared in Square Meal Venues & Events magazine, summer 2009