This Coffee-house was established previous to the year 1731, for we find of it the following advertisement:—
"Whereas, it is customary for Coffee-houses and other Public-houses, to take 8s. for a quart of Arrack, and 6s. for a quart of Brandy or Rum, made into Punch:
"This is to give Notice,
"That James Ashley has opened, on Ludgate Hill, the London Coffee-house, Punch-house, Dorchester Beer and Welsh Ale Warehouse, where the finest and best old Arrack, Rum, and French Brandy is made into Punch, with the other of the finest ingredients—viz., A quart of Arrack made into Punch for six shillings; and so in proportion to the smallest quantity, which is half-a-quartern for fourpence halfpenny. A quart of Rum or Brandy made into Punch for four shillings; and so in proportion to the smallest quantity, which is half-a-quartern for fourpence halfpenny; and gentlemen may have it as soon made as a gill of Wine can be drawn."
The premises occupy a Roman site; for, in 1800, in the rear of the house, in a bastion of the City Wall, was found a sepulchral monument, dedicated to Claudina Martina by her husband, a provincial Roman soldier; here also were found a fragment of a statue of Hercules, and a female head. In front of the Coffee-house, immediately west of St. Martin's church, stood Ludgate.
The London Coffee-house (now a tavern) is noted for its publishers' sales of stock and copyrights. It was within the rules of the Fleet prison: and in the Coffee-house are "locked up" for the night such juries from the Old Bailey Sessions, as cannot agree upon verdicts. The house was long kept by the grandfather and father of Mr. John Leech, the celebrated artist.
A singular incident occurred at the London Coffee-house, many years since: Mr. Brayley, the topographer, was present at a party here, when Mr. Broadhurst, the famous tenor, by singing a high note, caused a wine-glass on the table to break, the bowl being separated from the stem.
At the bar of the London Coffee-house was sold Rowley's British Cephalic Snuff.
Club Life of London Vol. II