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brackets, railed shelves with turned balustrades, brilliant mirrors and bottles (the display
of bottles is a later innovation - during the nineteenth century spirits were kept in barrel-
shaped porcelain containers) - the whole rising up like a great organ, often surmounted
by a clock under an elaborately broken pediment. Ferns and aspidistras flourish on these
counters. These items of decoration are still favoured, especially in the East End, together
with plastic-surfaced advertisements, little pots of that abominable dyed weed dredged up
near Southend, and royal portraits. Although, as I have said, the East End is losing some of
its strongly focal character, the old life of the pubs in those parts of London still persists. A
weekend pub crawl in such places as Shoreditch, Stepney, and Hackney is the way to see
it at first hand. Here the East End 'ma' continues to flourish, the large sized, perhaps even
pneumatic specimen who was no stranger to Phil May and Albert Chevalier, joins in the
chorus, supported at the rear by a buttoned horsehair seat and at the front by a large Guin-
ness. Such period characters must disappear sometime - that is where the funeral parlour
comes in; if so, however, they are at once replaced by replicas, presumably on a system
known only to the East End.
One of the finest and least-known London pubs is the Crown, Cunningham Place, on
the edge of St John's Wood and mistressy Maida Vale. The Crown is magnificently late
Victorian, full of old wallpaper and marble, and possessing a billiard-room complete in
every detail, down to the horsehair seats. Go there in a straw boater in summertime; smoke
a Woodbine, and think about Kitchener.
The nineteenth-century London pub described above was preceded by the gin palace,
the chief feature of which was the large room and long horizontal bar. Gin palaces have
quite disappeared, but Henekey's in Holborn ought to be visited as the nearest resemb-
lance. This is a most interesting place. One side of the vast room is taken up by a gallery
with barrels of colossal size; below this is the back of the bar with an assortment of smaller
barrels, kegs, and bottles and in front of this is the bar counter. On the opposite side is a
set of little boxes like Victorian lifts. These are snuggeries for private parties, an admirable
arrangement. Most picturesque of all is the cast-iron stove, a mysterious affair without vis-
ible pipes. This is a choice piece of Victoriana and still in use, apparently consuming its
own smoke. There must be other stoves like this in London but the only one in my recol-
lection is that at Hoare's Bank and no longer in use.
From pubs the London cafés and restaurants are a natural transition; I mean, of course,
those lesser-known ones possessing a marked period flavour. Such places as Rules in
Maiden Lane, notwithstanding its rich late nineteenth-century interior, are therefore out-
side my theme; so for this reason are the Grill Room of the Café Royal, the Criterion
Restaurant, where Toulouse-Lautrec had his porterhouse steaks, and one or two others.
However, I cannot resist mentioning the Hamilton Hall in the Great Eastern Hotel, near
Liverpool Street. The Hamilton Hall is part of the Abercorn Rooms, and is named after the
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