Famous Sheffield swingers' club ‘La Chambre’ could make a comeback, says founder
A famous swingers’ club in Sheffield could yet rise from the ashes, says its founder, after being forced to close due to Covid.
La Chambre in Attercliffe had attracted frisky couples from across Britain since opening in 1998 but it has been closed since the start of the pandemic, with the owners choosing not to renew the lease.
Its founders Barry and Marie Calvert have retired from the business but say there has been interest from potential buyers keen to resurrect it once coronavirus rules allow.
However, they have ruled out a return to its old premises and claim that if it is revived it will probably be outside Sheffield where the ‘puritanical’ regulations had made it hard to operate successfully in recent years.
“We were always going to retire but if it wasn’t for Covid we would have sold La Chambre on and it would still be booming as one of the premier clubs in the country,” said Mr Calvert.
"Through the years, many churches and various other institutions who didn’t like us have tried to get us shut down. We survived their attempts but we couldn’t survive Covid.”
Mr Calvert said the club boasts some 25,000 members and he is still contacted on a daily basis by former regulars asking ‘when are you opening up because we miss you so much’.
He told how there had been interest from potential purchasers before Covid hit but the sale had been put on hold due to the pandemic.
"The last places to open up in this environment are going to be adult clubs so it’s not a good business to be opening up in the next six months to a year,” he said.
"Maybe we can sell it after that because it’s got a good brand name which is respected around the world.
"We had wanted to sell the business at the original premises but Sheffield Council was looking to redevelop that area anyway so it would have been pointless trying to sell it based there when the building was going to be knocked down in a couple of years anyway.
"I would love for it to reopen in Sheffield, because that’s where it all began, but the council had made it really difficult in the last few years.
"It made us jump through hoops of fire, which was really disappointing because we’ve never caused the council any trouble. In fact, the police said they got more trouble from the local pubs than they ever did from our place.
“Having worked well with us for years, the council made us get a sexual entertainment venue licence, which meant we had to abide by almost puritanical rules, putting us at a disadvantage to other premises.
"I wouldn’t encourage anyone to open a business like ours in Sheffield now. I would say go to Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, anywhere but Sheffield, because the rules here are too restrictive.”
The Calverts founded the club on Attercliffe Road at what was the Robin Hood pub and have written books about their escapades at the venue, which featured a sauna and swimming pool as well as a torture dungeon and upstairs ‘playrooms’.
A Las Vegas newspaper once voted it the third best visitor attraction in the world. Top was the Grand Canyon.