"'We are going to Thame,' he said. 'There's a delightful hotel there, which luckily doesn't appeal to the Bullingdon'"
The Spread Eagle Hotel at Thame
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Spread Eagle Hotel at Thame - Credit: Rob Farrow, Wikimedia Commons

Thame (pronounced tame) is a small town about eight miles east of Oxford.

During the 1920s, Evelyn Waugh used to frequent a famous Thame hotel, the Spread Eaglerun by the flamboyant John Fothergill and renowned for the quality of its cuisine. The sign outside was designed by the artist Dora Carrington, who had a relationship with Lytton Strachey of the Bloomsbury circle.

An Innkeeper's Diary, Fothergill's account of his time at the Spread Eagle, was published in 1931.

Crest of the Bullingdon Club
Public DomainCrest of the Bullingdon Club - Credit: Spiers and Son (1852)

The Bullingdon is an Oxford University dining club, founded in 1789 as a cricket and hunting club. Its members are renowned for their rumbustious and destructive behaviour whilst under the influence of excessive alcohol.

In Evelyn Waugh's satirical novel Decline and Fall (1928), the Bullingdon is thinly disguised as the Bollinger club (Bollinger being a well-known make of champagne).

The British Prime Minister David Cameron, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne are both former members of the Bullingdon, as is Boris Johnson (Mayor of London).