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Rummer Tavern, Queen street : 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 locality of this noted tavern is given by Cunningham, as "two doors from Locket's, between Whitehall and Charing Cross, removed to the water-side of Charing Cross, in 1710, and burnt down Nov. 7th, 1750. It was kept in the reign of Charles II., by Samuel Prior, uncle of Matthew Prior, the poet, who thus wrote to Fleetwood Shephard :

" My uncle, rest his soul ! when living,
Might have contriv'd me ways of thriving :
Taught me with cider to replenish
My vats, or ebbing tide of Rhenish.
So when for hock I drew prick t white- wine,
Swear't had the flavour, and was right wine."

The Rummer is introduced by Hogarth into his picture of " Night." Here Jack Sheppard committed his first robbery by stealing two silver spoons.

The Rummer, in Queen-street, was kept by Brawn, a celebrated cook, of whom Dr. King, in his Art of Cookery, speaks in the same way as Kit-Kat and Locket.

King, also, in his Analogy between Physicians , Cooks, and Playwrights, thus describes a visit : —

" Though I seldom go out of my own lodgings, I was prevailed on the other day to dine with some friends at the Rummer in Queen-street Sam Trusty would needs have me go with him into the kitchen, and see how matters went there He assured me that Mr.

Brawn had an art, etc. I was, indeed, very much pleased and surprised with the extraordinary splendour and economy I observed there ; but above all with the great readiness and dexterity of the man himself. His motions were quick, but not precipitate ; he in an instant applied himself from one stove to another, without the least appearance of hurry, and in the midst of smoke and fire preserved an incredible serenity of countenance."

Beau Brummel, according to Mr. Jesse, spoke with a relish worthy a descendant of " the Rummer," of the savoury pies of his aunt Brawn, who then resided at Kilburn ; she is said to have been the widow of a grandson of the celebrity of Queen-street, who had himself kept the public-house at the old Mews Gate, at Charing Cross. — See Notes and Queries, 2nd S., no. xxxvi.

We remember an old tavern, "the Rummer," in 1825, which was taken down with the lower portion of St. Martin's lane, to form Trafalgar square.

The 1805 Holdens directory places William Drought, at the Rummer Tavern, in Charing Cross

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: Sunday, 05-Jan-2020 15:30:46 GMT