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Crown and Anchor, Strand : London coffee houses and taverns
A historical site about early London coffee houses and taverns
and will also link to my current pub history site and also the London street
THE CROWN AND ANCHOR, STRAND.
This famous tavern extended from Arundel street eastward to Milford lane, in the
rear of the south side of the Strand, and occupied the site of an older house
with the same sign. Strype, in 1729, described it as " the Crown Tavern ; a
large and curious house, with good rooms and other conveniences fit for
entertainments." Here was instituted the Academy of Music in 1710; and here the
Royal Society Club, who had previously met at the Mitre in Fleet street, removed
in 1780, and dined here for the first time on December 21, and here they
continued until the tavern was converted into a club-house in 1847.
The second tavern was built in 1790. Its first landlord was Thomas Simpkin, a
very corpulent man, who, in superintending the serving of a large dinner, leaned
over a balustrade, which broke, when he fell from a considerable height to the
ground, and was killed. The sign appears to have been originally " The Crown,"
to which may have been added the Anchor, from its being the emblem of St.
Clement's, opposite; or from the Lord High Admiral having once resided on the
site. The tavern contained a ball-room, 84 feet by 35 feet 6 inches; in 1798, on
the birthday of C. J. Fox, was given in this house, a banquet to 2000 persons,
when the Duke of Norfolk presided. The large room was noted for political
meetings in the stormy Tory and Radical times; and the Crown and Anchor was long
the rallying-point of the Westminster electors. The room would hold 2500 persons
: one of the latest popular orators who spoke here was Daniel O'Connell, M.P.
There was originally an entrance to the house from the Strand, by a long
passage, such as was the usual approach to our old metropolitan taverns. The
premises were entirely destroyed by fire, in 1854, but have been rebuilt."
Here Johnson and Boswell occasionally supped ; and here Johnson quarrelled with
Percy about old Dr. Monsey. Thither was brought the altar-piece (St. Cecilia),
painted by Kent for St. Clement's Church, whence it was removed, in 1725, by
order of Bishop Gibson, on the supposition that the picture contained portraits
of the Pretender's wife and children.
The 1829 Robsons directory places George Baxter, at the Crown & Anchor tavern,
Strand; and earlier in 1822 it was Edward Parry
Lots of references are made to two sources on the
Edward Callows, Old London Taverns &
John Timbs, Club life of London Volume 2
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