Me and Shakespeare hanging out IN AMERICA! Will Channing and I visit two Globe Theaters in one year? Maybe we already have? I DON’T KNOW!
“Jewelry shops of interest to women include Cameo Corner, antique jewels, 1 New Oxford Street, where the Queen buys jewels. Edward Good, proprietor, is a super-salesman who will choose a stone that will match your “aura” for specially made earrings and such. He sold to Queen Mary a delightful jeweled elephant that was made for the Czar of Russia.”
- Helen Josephy and Mary Margaret McBride in London is a Man’s Town (But Women Go There), 1930
Queen Mary of Teck was known for her fabulous jewels. I love the idea that the salesman read the Queen’s aura and saw an elephant, although I know that’s not really what the text says. Anyway, do you think this is the elephant they were talking about?
“Simpson’s at 76 Cheapside, known for its Fish Ordinary, is a homely little city restaurant which is jammed at one o’ clock every day with business men who have come to lunch well for two shillings — and to try to guess the height, girth and weight of a giant cheese brought in at the end of the meal and placed on a pedestal of oak made from a beam of the old Victory.
Get there by ten minutes to one or you won’t be able to find a seat near your own flag at the big communal table. Simpson’s is the only place in the City that still has a restaurant chairman. This official calls on colonial visitors for jokes and speeches while everybody waits for the cheese to be brought in. Champagne and cigars are given to all the guests on days when, as occasionally happens, somebody guesses right. Luckily, the waiter whispers an approximate number to strangers so they won’t be too far off track.”
This was immediately preceded by an explanation of how Londoners “are learning the quick lunch habit,” and having more American-style, hustle and bustley ,midday meals.
I ran out of time to make more illustrations, but there were a few more food places of note:
Another pub they describe as being really great and popular is known as Dirty Dick’s because of this story:
“In the eighteenth century lived a man named Nathaniel Bentley who brought his son up in elegant style though his own fortune was founded on the hardware business. The young man was engaged to a beautiful lady but on the wedding day came news of the lady’s death. Young Bentley locked the room where the wedding breakfast had been laid out and commanded that it should never be opened again. Then he gave up his foppish ways and became known as “Dirty Dick.” Upon his death the room was opened and scores of skeletons of rats and mice were found upon the wedding breakfast table. The contents of the room were removed to the present pub. Women mustn’t go here alone for it is a fearful neighborhood.”
And another place called Simpson’s, which is I think a different place from the one with the cheese-guessing:
“Throughout the Christmas season, from December 19 on, you can get boar’s head at Simpson’s, its profile tastefully decorated in butter. The restaurant is also noted for having the deepest wine cellars in London and the fattest boat crew in the world — once a year they have a race with the crew of another London restaurant.”
This one still exists and is also famous for being one of Dickens’ haunts.