The Cock Tavern

The Cock Tavern by F. Hopkinson Smith. 1913. Photographic reproduction of charcoal on paper from In Thackeray's London, p. 145. Scanned image, formatting and text by George P. Landow. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you credit and link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

Hard by was the Bible Tavern . . . . The Rainbow . . . . "Dicks". . . . "The Cock" alone survives—one of the few ancient taverns remaining unaltered internally from the time of James I. The outside fell into the clutches of the Demon of Unrest in 1887, and was sent to the dumping ground to make room for what Hare calls "a ludicrous Temple Bar Memorial." But the inside fittings were rescued bodily, carried across Fleet Street, and set up in its new home. No. 22, a short distance from its old site at 201 — not a renovation, nor a patching up, nor making one half of it new to match the old, but the putting together in a new room, the size of the old one, everything that the old one had contained. The old Jacobean fireplace, with its grate, mantel, fender and fire tongs and shovel, was set up intact; the same old settees were placed in the same relative positions as at No. 201; the same old prints and sketches, and in the same frames, were hung in their old panels on the walls, and the same cheap gas jets fastened to the well-smoked ceiling — to-day a quarter of a century old. Even now much of the old pewter, crockery, and glass can be found on the time- worn shelving, while' the floor, as in the old days, is bare of a carpet, and the time-honoured tables still smile back at you from out of the polish made and kept bright by the elbows of a hundred celebrities.

It was to one of these very tables that Pepys, to his wife's great aggravation, conducted the pretty Mrs. Knipp, and here they drank, ate a lobster, and sang and were "mighty merry till almost midnight."

On another table Tennyson wrote "Will Waterproof's Lyrical Monologue." . . . At still another table Thackeray was accustomed to take his chop and stout — it being but a step from Punch's "Round Table," with its discussions, plans, and piles of proofs, to a quiet corner in The Cock. And then he loved a good dinner. [144, 146-47]

Related Material


Smith, F. Hopkinson. & In Thackeray's London. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, Page & Company, 1916.

Last modified 9 July 2012