Street Views: 38 and 17 Suppl.
Addresses: 3 Poultry and 77 Cheapside
In the 1839 Street View, Tallis lists James Pimm at 3 Poultry (top elevation above) and in the 1847 Supplement at 77 Cheapside (lower elevation). The Poultry did not figure in the Tallis Supplements, so it is impossible from that source to determine whether Pimm hung on to that establishment, but the tax records for the Cheap Ward can help us out. Pimm was still mentioned in the tax records of 1846 as the proprietor of 3 Poultry, but in 1847 the line for that address is left empty, while in 1850 (no records seem to exist for 1848 and 1849) it is filled with the name of Samuel D. Morey. The premises listed in the Supplement for Pimm, 77 Cheapside, were still occupied by George Miner in 1839, although the Tallis plan mistakenly shows the name of a T. Carter, tailor and draper, on the elevation. I will get back to this discrepancy in a forthcoming post on Miner, but here we are concerned with the later occupation by Pimm.
An engraving of a drawing by T.H. Shepherd shows the two premises of Pimm’s, albeit only just. Looking from St. Paul’s towards the Poultry, Cheapside bends slightly to the right into Bucklersbury, which means that numbers 78, 79 and 80 are not visible in the engraving and Pimm’s at number 77 only just (pink arrow). You can recognise the building by the molding above the window on the first floor (pink circle). Number 3 Poultry is indicated by the green arrow. The Shepherd drawing gives the illusion that the two establishments were closer together than they actually were, but Tallis flattened the street in his View, giving a better idea of the situation.
In June 1822, James Pimm acquired the freedom of the City through the Company of Loriners by redemption, that is, by paying a fine for not following the usual route of a 7-year apprenticeship or by patrimony. On the admission paper it is already stated that he was a fishmonger. That same year he married Mary Southerden Mallery at St. Mary Woolnoth, and he started his career in nearby Lombard Street. From the baptisms of the couple’s children, we can work out the subsequent addresses of the family between 1823 and 1841. From 1823 to 1826, they lived in Lombard Street; from 1827 to June 1830 in George Street; from November 1830 to 1834 at 2 Poultry and from 1836 onwards at 3 Poultry.(1) In 1837, Pimm decorated his house with “a crown in variegated lamps” as part of the illuminations for Queen Victoria’s procession to Guildhall on 9 November (see for a painting of the procession here).(2) The 1841 census finds the Pimm family at 3 Poultry, but by 1851 they have moved to 77 Cheapside.
In most of the baptism entries for his children, James Pimm is listed as an oyster dealer, the 1841 baptism lists him as a shell fismonger and the 1841 census simply as fishmonger. But the 1851 census shows his business extending the range of goods on offer as he is then described as “confectioner and fish factor, master, employing 4 persons (not very clear, could be ‘personnel’). Daughter Mary and son Henry are both listed as confectioner’s assistants, Frances does not get a job description, William is an apprentice to a fish factor (not necessarily his father) and Ann is still a scholar. Also living on the premises is a female servant, also described as confectioner’s assistant. In 1854, son Henry Mallery acquires the freedom of the City by patrimony, not from the Loriners as his father had done, but perhaps more logically, from the Vintners. The documentation says that he does so “for particular reasons”, but no details about these reasons are given. In 1859, Henry Mallery takes out a General Game Certificate for which he had to pay 4l. 0s. 10d. with an additional duty of 10 per cent.(3) This certificate allowed him to shoot game where he wants, subject to the Law of trespass. For an example see here.
In 1861, according to the census, Henry Mallery and his brother William were living at 7 Billingsgate as fish factors, although the land tax on the property is listed for James. Father James, his wife Mary and daughters Frances and Ann were then still living and working at 77 Cheapside. James is said to be a fish factor employing two men, but he was soon to retire. On his death certificate – he died the 6th of August 1866 – he is said to be living at East Peckham. The cause of death is given as liver and heart failure. His probate record gives him as “formerly a fish factor” and “formerly of Cheapside but late of Billingsgate and of Bush-place East Peckham”. Henry Mallery and William are named as the executors of the estate.(4) When exactly the Cheapside establishment was transferred to others is unclear, but sons Henry and William seem to have remained at Billingsgate. In 1860, a list of householders of the Cheap Ward supporting the election of John Bennett as councilman lists a George Bradshaw at 77 Cheapside, but unfortunately without mentioning his occupation.(5) In 1862, James Pimm is still listed for the Cheapside address in the Land Tax records, but in 1864 George Bradshaw’s name has replaced his.
From the above information, you might gather that all Pimm did was sell fish, oysters in particular, but his name has gone down in history for a very different reason, namely the invention of Pimm’s No. 1 Cup. According to legend, Pimm started offering refreshing drinks with his oysters to aid digestion. It is uncertain when exactly he started with his famous drink, but the year 1840 is usually mentioned, and the bottles proudly show that year, but there is no direct evidence for that. It is certain that he applied for a licence to sell alcohol for 77 Cheapside in 1850, but that was refused. The application was opposed, not surprisingly, by sixteen licensed victuallers of the area; one of the reasons given was that the seating area at number 77 was even smaller than that of 51 Cheapside, whose owner, Mr. Pill, had been refused a licence for not having sufficient accommodation. The report on the hearing does not show the authorities in a very favourable light; they were arguing amongst themselves about the procedure and the meeting had to be adjourned for a while so that the magistrates could rethink their position in the case. In the end, the licence was refused.(6)
A year later, Pimm tried again, and this time he had the backing of 120 inhabitants of the ward, although the licensed victuallers of the area were once again opposed, one of them Pimm’s neighbour, Mr. Innes of the Queen’s Arms Tavern, along with 100 other inhabitants. Pimm was asked whether he planned to live at the premises and he answered, “I do […] the house which I ask to be licensed is my only home; and I have not the slightest intention of leaving it, so long as I can keep it”. The magistrates decided that a licence should be granted as “the shop was an old established and respectable place, well-known in the City of London, possessing every convenience for refreshment”. Interesting to see how they changed their tune from the year before when the accommodation was considered inadequate. But there was a warning: the premises were not to be converted into a gin shop or public house, or the licence might be revoked.(76)
Pimm’s No. 1 Cup was the first, and still the most popular, variety of Pimm’s beverage, but other varieties were introduced later on (see the Wikipedia page for its later history). It is also suggested that Samuel Morey, a former apprentice of Pimm’s, invented the drink. He was certainly Pimm’s successor at 3 Poultry, but he was not his apprentice. Morey only acquired the freedom of the City in 1854 and he did so by patrimony (his father was a Butcher), so had no need to become anyone’s apprentice. He may, of course, have been Pimm’s assistant before taking over the business at 3 Poultry, but I have found no evidence of that. On the contrary, Tallis already lists a Morey, fishmonger, at 201 Bishopsgate Without, that is, in 1839, and that address and 3 Poultry are both given on the probate record of Samuel Morey in 1877. More on the Morey family here, but for now, cheers, enjoy your Pimm’s.
Postscript: Terence Hodgson kindly sent me information and a picture of the architect’s drawings for 4 and 5 Poultry (see his comment), so many thanks to him. In 1870, restaurateur Frederick Sawyer, who took over from the Moreys, took an 80 year lease from the landowners, the Merchant Tailors’ Guild, and built a new Pimms restaurant at 4 and 5 Poultry. The architect for the new Pimms was a R H Moore, whose best still standing work is probably the Hop Exchange in Southwark. The building had the unusual conflans stone for its sheathing. In the new building, all floors were used for various types of grills and restaurants, and like many such buildings, the top floor, despite all the pretty arcading, was actually used for the kitchens and live-in staff quarters.
(1) Baptism dates: James 4 May 1823; James Henry 5 Sep 1824; Mary Mallery 12 Feb 1826; Henry Mallery 2 Dec 1827; James Norris, named after his grandfather, 28 June 1829; Francis Elizabeth 21 Nov 1830; William 12 Aug 1832; Ellen 18 May 1834; Ellen 17 Jan 1836; Ann 10 Sep 1837; George 14 July 1839; and Ann 1 Aug 1841. All but the last child, Ann, were baptised at St. Mary Woolnoth, but in 1841 St. Mildred Poultry was chosen.
(2) The Morning Chronicle, 10 November 1837.
(3) The Spectator, 8 October 1859.
(4) England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1866. Effects valued at under £10,000.
(5) Daily News, 26 November 1860.
(6) The Era, 31 March 1850.
(7) The Era, 30 March 1851.
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