Real Lives: ‘One-off’ Brian was home in The Dome

Dome director Brian Crawford died of a heart attack. Picture: Sean Bell
Dome director Brian Crawford died of a heart attack. Picture: Sean Bell
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THE man credited with turning The Dome in George Street into one of the city’s leading venues has died.

A larger-than-life character, Brian Crawford’s many friends and customers ranged from royalty to sporting heroes and actors. He had a close “gang of girlfriends” who included Lorraine Chase, Cilla Black, Rula Lenska, Sheila Ferguson, Shirley Bassey, Angela Rippon, Toyah Willcox and Lorna Luft.

The venue’s director died at the age of 54 after suffering a massive heart attack in his sleep while on holiday in the United States.

Brian Irmler Crawford was born June 8, 1960, in North Berwick, and educated at Loretto School in Musselburgh. On leaving Loretto, he attended a course in hotel management at the Frankfurt College in Germany.

He then trained at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington before moving to work as head croupier at Crockfords Casino in Mayfair.

He then operated a restaurant in Miami in which Michael Caine had an interest before returning to the UK and managing his own restaurants, then joining Caledonian Heritable.

His skills in marketing complemented and enhanced the iconic Georgian Dome in George Street. His flair for design was demonstrated by the venue’s Christmas decorations.

Brian was also involved in the purchase of the iconic Tramp Nightclub in London and brought his own style and panache to the team.

A stickler for detail, everything had to be perfect and his staff had to be immaculately turned out. He worked on the principle that it had to be the best of the best and his mantra was “I don’t do cheap, darling!”.

Brian is survived by his partner of 15 years, Christopher Romano, who looked after their apartment in Florida as Brian commuted back and forth whenever his time allowed.

Kevin Doyle, owner of The Dome, said: “I was absolutely devastated when I heard. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t. Brian has been with me 20-odd years now and we had a fabulous relationship. He is going to be a huge loss. He was a one-off.

“We had already opened The Dome when I met Brian, but he took it to another level. Every year he came up with new ideas on how to enhance it. He was just wonderful. He brought Shirley Bassey, Sheila Ferguson from The Three Degrees, lots of them. Internationally he was well known.”

“Brian requested that his funeral be private but there were so many people from all over the world phoning in when they heard what had happened that it was important they had a chance to say their goodbyes to an irreplaceable character. It will be an absolute celebration of his life and definitely not a mournful occasion.”

Brian will be remembered in a memorial service at 11am on Monday, January 12 at St Andrew’s and St George’s West Church.