Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 The Rummer Tavern


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 prickt 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.

John Timbs
Club Life of London Vol. II
London, 1866