A listing of historical London public houses, Taverns, Inns, Beer Houses and Hotels in St Benet Fink parish, City of London.
Past Betsey's and down a few steps were some small wine-rooms,
known as the Baltic Coffee house, or Monger's.
This little snuggery was done away with many years ago ; but during the busy time of the railway mania of 1845-6 Monger's little "crib" played a very important part — more so than many larger and more pretentious places round about.
When the various new railway companies' Bills were undergoing the process of being passed through the different stages of Parliamentary formalities, preparatory to becoming Acts of Parliament, the interest in every stage of the tedious and tortuous proceedings was intense.
Then it was tliat little "Monger and his wine crib were seen to advantage. Long after the " House '' had closed, and all legitimate business had ceased, the place was full of members and others interested, waiting anxiously for any news from Westminster as to how particular Bills were getting on in the House or Committee of either Lords or Commons, as the case might be, and dealings to a considerable extent frequenth- took place there, in anticipation of the opening of the markets on the following morning.
Anyone now seeing the afternoon scenes in Throgmorton Street after four o'clock during a boom will understand what Monger's was, on a
smaller scale, in the evening.
Not only here, but at the Auction Mart in Bartholomew Lane, in the coffee-room, were large gatherings of people more or less interested in what was going on at Westminster. It goes without saying that at both places the consumption of liquids, vinous and spirituous, was considerable.
There were no telegraphs or telephones in those primitive days, it must be remembered ; and though I have heard it said that some parties in the City kept carrier pigeons to convey' the news, I do not believe it. When any Bill reached the stage of second reading in the Lords or Commons, which would probably be late in the evening, — perhaps night — some men, deeply interested, would stay at Monger's until after midnight.
I was cognizant of an amusing case when one of the Bills for constructing what is now the Great Northern Railway — either Rastrict's or Remmington's line from London to York — was before the Committee of the Commons on Standing Orders.
These rival Bills for the line from London to York were so called from the names of the engineers who had made the surveys and plans.
The Committee, of course, sat early in the day, and the excitement in the " York " Market in the " House " and at all the brokers' offices was intense. There had been enormous speculative dealings in the shares of both companies, and the results as to the Bills in question passing the Standing Orders were very momentous, as in the event of one or other of the Bills being "thrown out," the shares, which were at a considerable premium, would become worse than waste paper, for their registered possession entailed no end of liability. The limited liability of the present day was then still in the sweet by-and-by.
Two clerks, from two rival jobbers, were waiting in the Committee-room to hear the result, with instructions to take the fastest cab, and rush off to the City with the news with all possible haste.
When the chairman of the Committee announced that the Bill had complied with the Standing Orders, and thus passed a critical stage, the two clerks cleared out of the place as quickly as possible, and bolted downstairs into Palace Yard, where each hailed and sprang into one of the new hansom cabs. Off they started as fast as the jehus could persuade their horses to travel. Each driver knew the nature of his fare, and that the pay would be good.
The quickest route was over Westminster Bridge, through York Road, Stamford Street, Union Street, the Borough, and over London Bridge.
(The reader will please remember that there was no short cut by the Thames Embankment and Queen Victoria Street at that time.) All went well until both cabs were on London Bridge, where, as a matter of course, the usual block occurred. The driver of the cab ahead looked over his shoulder and saw his rival's fare quietly seated in the cab behind him. The clerk in the rear one, although uttering a few very strong words at the delay, looked ahead and saw the other cab.
Naturally considering that all was right, and that if he was delayed by the block, the other was also, he told his cabby that if he could pass the other fellow, when they got over the bridge, it would be worth another half-crown to him.
While this conversation between driver and fare of the rear cab was proceeding, the young gentleman in the front vehicle, poked up the little trap-door over his head and told his man to just keep a little ahead of the party behind, and then to come on to the office.
He then quietly slipped out of the cab — not on to the pavement, but on the offside into the road, and dodging between the various carts, vans, cabs, and omnibuses, reached the footpath and rushed off, as fast as he could push his way through the passing crowd of foot passengers to King William Street. Here he jumped into another hansom and dashed off to the Stock Exchange, where he arrived before the other man had passed King William's Statue. He, poor fellow, had sat quite contented looking at the cab in front, knowing very well the block that stopped his cab would prevent the other one from going very far ahead.
He felt easy in consequence, and when at last the block did give way, and the two cabs emerged from the crowd and started at a decent pace up King William Street, he quite chuckled as his hansom overhauled the other one and passed it.
On his arrival at Capel Court, a great commotion was going on in the York Market, which was much convulsed, as is often the case when anything causes a material fluctuation in prices.
There was the usual shouting, and dealers were bidding vociferously for the shares of the fortunate line at £5 higher than the market opened at in the morning. It was some time before that young man was enlightened as to how the thing was done.
There was a crusty old gentleman who jobbed in the Dutch Market, and whose only office was one of the little square pew-like enclosures up in the gallery overlooking the floor of the House, where the foreign market assembled.
The mischievous members in those days were just as larky a set as they are now, and used to play the old jobber in Dutch 2 1/2 and 4 per cents, some very sad tricks. He lived at Balham, and was a perfect model of the sedate family man, who purchased his own fish, poultry, and eggs in Leadenhall Market, and took them home in neat little mat baskets, as very many City men do now.
Sometimes he would make his purchases on his arrival by omnibus or coach in Gracechurch Street, close to the Spread Eagle and the entrance to Leadenhall Market. On reaching the House he deposited it in a corner under the desk in his little pen of an office up in the gallery. This was noticed, and when an opportunity offered, one of the wicked ones slipped up, and took the neat little mat basket into the Auction Mart coffee-room. The larky members were bv no means all giddy young fellows — far otherwise, as some of the very worst were as grey-headed as the victim of their jokes.
Once when the contents were nice country new-laid eggs they were carried off to the Mart, and handed to the waiter with instructions to have them boiled for two or three minutes. They were then put back, and the basket was replaced where it was abstracted from.
Great was the surprise at Balham next morning when the eggs at breakfast were iound to be hard and indigestible. Cook was summoned to the breakfast-room and reprimanded. Another batch was ordered to be properly boiled — with a like result. Then after further reprimanding, falling very little short of a "blowing up," cook was told to bring up the rest of the eggs and a saucepan, and they should be boiled on the table over the neat little silver spirit lamp. The same fate befell them. They were quite hard. One was then broken ; it was cooked to a nicet)', but unfortunately was cold.
On another occasion, when a pair of fat capons were in the mat bag, they were slily abstracted and conveyed to the Auction Mart coffee-room, with instructions for them to be cooked and served up at a snug table in the end box, with all the proper " fixins " at one o'clock, when a party of four or five would be there to lunch.
Just before the old gentleman's time for his frugal lunch, which he invariably brought with him from home, consisting of a sandwich or slice of home-made cake and a small flask containing exactly one glass of sherry — no more and no less — one of the bad, base conspirators stepped up to him as he leaned against his usual pillar at the bottom of the gallery stairs and asked him to come and have lunch with So-and-So in the Mart. The rest of the party were there, and all five greatly enjoyed their meal, for the capons were young, plump, and beautifully cooked. The light sherry and the one glass of port with the cheese as a finish were faultless.
When all was over, the cheekiest of the band ot robbers, withdrawing the little mat basket from under the table, and addressing their victim, said they thanked him for the capons, which they had all enjoyed, and finished by complimenting him upon being so good a judge of poultry. It was of no use being angry ; an contrairy, by far the best way was to join in the laugh. It was very seldom in those days that any jokes were not taken in good part, but autres temps, autres moeurs. It would appear that practical jokers are brought before the terrible tribunal of the House Committee nowadays. Alore's the pity.
The following entries are in this format:
Year/Publican or other Resident/Relationship to Head and or Occupation/Age/Where Born/Source.
1822/Burridge and Phillips,
Antwerp & Stock Exchange coffee house, 58 Threadneedle street/../../Directory
1829/W Milton, Baltic Coffee House, 58 Threadneedle street/../../Robson’s Directory
1832/William Milton/../../../Pigots Directory
1832/William Melton, Baltic Coffee House, 58 Threadneedle street/../../Robson’s Directory
1836/John Monger, Baltic Coffee House & Tavern, Threadneedle street/../../Pigots Directory
1842/J Monger, Baltic Coffee House, 58 Threadneedle street/../../Robson’s Directory
1843/John Monger, Baltic Coffee House, 58 Threadneedle street/../../Kellys Directory
1848/John Monger, Baltic Coffee House, 58 Threadneedle street/../../Post Office Directory
1851/Margaret Maloney/House Servant/25/Cork, Ireland/Census
1851/Samuel Baker/Waiter/26/Great Baddow, Essex/Census
1851/John Rimmerstone/Porter/21/Epping, Essex/Census
1851/George Penner/Waiter/18/Mile End, Middlesex/Census
References : Lots of references are made to two sources on the internet archive :
Edward Callows, Old London Taverns &