Inns and Taverns of Old London by Henry C. Shelley

Setting forth the historic and literary associations of those ancient hostelries, together with an account of the most notable coffee-houses, clubs and pleasure gardens of the British metropolis. Published in Boston by L.C. Page and Company 1909.

[Note: a few misprints in the original have been corrected in this e-text.]


King's Head Tavern, Fleet Street For all races of Teutonic origin the claim is made that they are essentially home-loving people. Yet the Englishman of the sixteenth and seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, especially of the latter, is seen to have exercised considerable zeal in creating substitutes for that home which, as a Teuton, he ought to have loved above all else. This, at any rate, was emphatically the case with the Londoner, as the following pages will testify. When he had perfected his taverns and inns, perfected them, that is, according to the light of the olden time, he set to work evolving a new species of public resort in the coffee-house. That type of establishment appears to have been responsible for the development of the club, another substitute for the home. And then came the age of the pleasure-garden. Both the latter survive, the one in a form of a more rigid exclusiveness than the eighteenth century Londoner would have deemed possible; the other in so changed a guise that frequenters of the prototype would scarcely recognize the relationship. But the coffee-house and the inn and tavern of old London exist but as a picturesque memory which these pages attempt to revive.

Naturally much delving among records of the past has gone to the making of this book. To enumerate all the sources of information which have been laid under contribution would be a tedious task and need not be attempted, but it would be ungrateful to omit thankful acknowledgment to Henry B. Wheatley's exhaustive edition of Peter Cunningham's "Handbook of London," and to Warwick Wroth's admirable volume on "The London Pleasure Gardens of the Eighteenth Century." Many of the illustrations have been specially photographed from rare engravings in the Print Boom of the British Museum. H.C.S.


I. Inns and taverns of old London

  1. Famous Southwark Inns.
  2. Inns and taverns east of St Paul's.
  3. Taverns of Fleet Street and Thereabouts.
  4. Taverns west of Temple Bar.
  5. Inns and taverns further afield.

II. Coffee-houses of old London

  1. Coffee-houses on 'Change and near-by.
  2. Round St Paul's.
  3. The Strand and Covent Garden.
  4. Further west.

III. The clubs of old London

  1. Literary.
  2. Social and gaming.

IV. Pleasure gardens of old London

  1. Vauxhall.
  2. Ranelagh.
  3. Other favourite resorts.

List of illustrations

  1. King's Head Tavern, Fleet Street.
  2. Geoffrey Chaucer
  3. Tabard Inn, Southwark in 1810
  4. Bridge-foot, Southwark, showing the Bear Inn in 1616
  5. Courtyard of Boar's Head Inn, Southwark
  6. George Inn
  7. White Hart Inn, Southwark
  8. Oliver Goldsmith
  9. Cock Inn, Leadenhall Street
  10. Paul Pindar Tavern
  11. Ancient view of Cheapside, showing the Nag's Head Inn
  12. A French ordinary in London
  13. Yard of Belle Sauvage Inn
  14. The Cheshire Cheese - entrance from Fleet Street
  15. The Cheshire Cheese - the Johnson Room
  16. Dr. Samuel Johnson
  17. Tablet and bust from the Devil Tavern
  18. Ben Jonson
  19. Feathers Tavern
  20. Adam and Eve Tavern
  21. A trial before the pie-powder court at the Hand and Shears Tavern
  22. Falcon Tavern, Bankside
  23. Garraway's Coffee-House
  24. Mad dog in a coffee-house
  25. Tom's Coffee-house
  26. Lloyd's Coffee-house
  27. Grecian Coffee-house
  28. John Dryden
  29. Joseph Addison
  30. Sir Richard Steele
  31. Lion's Head at Button's Coffee-house
  32. British Coffee-house
  33. Slaughter's Coffee-house
  34. Old Palace Yard, Westminster
  35. Don Saltero's Coffee-house
  36. St James's Street, showing White's on the left and Brooks's on the right
  37. The Brilliants
  38. Promised horrors of the French invasion
  39. Gambling saloon at Brooks's Club
  40. Tickets for Vauxhall
  41. Entrance to Vauxhall
  42. The citizen at Vauxhall
  43. Scene at Vauxhall
  44. Venetian masquerade at Ranelagh, 1749
  45. The assault on Dr. John Hill at Ranelagh
  46. Marylebone Gardens
  47. White Conduit House
  48. Bagnigge Wells
  49. Finch's Grotto, Southwark