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Fountain Tavern, Strand : London coffee houses and taverns
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THE FOUNTAIN TAVERN, Strand
Strand, now the site of Nos. 101 and 102, Ries's Divan, gave the name to the
Fountain Club, composed of political opponents of Sir Robert Walpole. Strype
describes it as " a very fine Tavern, with excellent vaults, good rooms for
entertainment, and a curious kitchen for dressing of meat, which, with the good
wine there sold, make it well resorted to." Dennis, the Critic, describes his
supping here with Loggan, the painter, and others, and that after supper they "
drank Mr. Wycherley's health by name of Captain Wycherley."
Here, Feb. 12, 1742, was held a great meeting, at which near 300 members of both
Houses of Parliament were present, to consider the ministerial crisis, when the
Duke of Argyll observed to Mr. Pulteney, that a grain of honesty was worth a
cart-load of gold. The meeting was held too late to be of any avail, to which
Sir Charles Hanbury Williams alludes in one of his odes to Pulteney, invoking
his Muse thus : —
" Then enlarge on his cunning and wit ;
Say, how he harang'd at the Fountain ;
Say, how the old patriots were bit,
And a mouse was produc'd by a mountain."
Upon the Tavern site was a Drawing Academy, of which Cosway and Wheatley were
pupils ; here also was the lecture-room of John Thelwall, the political
elocutionist. At No. 101, Ackermann, the printseller, illuminated his gallery
with cannel coal, when gas-lighting was a novelty.
In Fountain-court, named from the Tavern, is the Coal-hole Tavern, upon the site
of a coal-yard ; it was much resorted to by Edmund Kean, and was one of the
earliest night taverns for singing.
The Ries Divan mentioned at 101 & 102 Strand is a grand cigar divan in the
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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