London coffee houses and taverns

Search London coffee houses and taverns

Salutation and Cat Tavern : 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 directory

THE SALUTATION AND CAT TAVERN, 17 Newgate street

No. 17, Newgate-street (north side), was, according to the tradition of the house, the tavern where Sir Christopher Wren used to smoke his pipe, whilst St. Paul's was re-building. There is more positive evidence of its being a place well frequented by men of letters at the above period. Thus, there exists a poetical invitation to a social feast held here on June 19, 1735-6, issued by the two stewards, Edward Cave and William Bowyer :

" Saturday, Jan. 17, 1735-6.

" Sir,
" You're desir'd on Monday next to meet
At Salutation Tavern, Newgate-street.
Supper will be on table just at eight,
[Stewards'] One of St. John's [Bowyer], 'tother of St. John's
Gate [Cave]. "

This brought a poetical answer from Samuel Richardson, the novelist, printed in extenso in Bowyer's Anecdotes :

" For me, I'm much concerned I cannot meet
' At Salutation Tavern, Newgate-street.'
Your notice, like your verse, so sweet and short !
If longer, I'd sincerely thank you for it.
Howe'er, receive my wishes, sons of verse !
May every man who meets, your praise rehearse !

May mirth, as plenty, crown your cheerful board,
And ev'ry one part happy — as a lord !
That when at home, (by such sweet verses fir'd)
Your families may think you all inspir'd.
So wishes he, who pre-engag'd, can't know
The pleasures that would from your meeting flow."

The proper sign is the Salutation and Cat, — a curious combination, but one which is explained by a lithograph, which some years ago hung in the coffee-room. An aged dandy is saluting a friend whom he has met in the street, and offering him a pinch out of the snuff-box which forms the top of his wood-like cane. This box-nob was, it appears, called a " cat " — hence the connection of terms apparently so foreign to each other. Some, not aware of this explanation, have accounted for the sign by supposing that a tavern called " the Cat " was at some time pulled down, and its trade carried to the Salutation, which thenceforward joined the sign to its own; but this is improbable, seeing that we have never heard of any tavern called "the Cat" (although we do know of "the Barking Dogs") as a sign. Neither does the Salutation take its name from any scriptural or sacred source, as the Angel and Trumpets, etc.

More positive evidence there is to show of the " little smoky room at the Salutation and Cat/' where Coleridge and Charles Lamb sat smoking Oronoko and drinking egg-hot; the first discoursing of his idol, Bowles, and the other rejoicing mildly in Cowper and Burns, or both dreaming of " Pantisocracy, and golden days to come on earth."

References :  Lots of references are made to two sources on the internet archive :
Edward Callows, Old London Taverns &
John Timbs, Club life of London Volume 2
My Pub history sites.
Street names index A - Z - this includes the 1832 and 1842 street directory


And Last updated on: Saturday, 10-Aug-2019 21:38:10 BST

What I am now attempting to achieve is the addition of all early coffee houses in London. Also, it is a great place to add any early taverns and inns which I have not yet listed on my pub history site. I just do not know which parish to add them to, or where they fit in.

London pub history directory.

LONDON Pub History

London Street Listings in 1832.

1832 Index

London street listings in 1842

1842 Index

London public houses in 1833 Pigots.

Entire London Street Listing in 1843 - by surname.

London public houses in 1856.

London public houses in 1869.

London 1921 Street directory in 1921

London 1940 Street directory 1940

London Pubs in 2018