Victorian London - Entertainment and Recreation - Drinking and Drugs - Public Houses - The Cock Tavern, Fleet Street

COCK TAVERN, FLEET STREET, or as it was at first called, THE COCK ALEHOUSE; a celebrated taven, facing Middle Temple Gate, and still (1850) famous for its chops, steaks, porter and stout. When the plague was raging in London, in 1665, the master shut up his house, and retired into the country. The present landlord delights to exhibit one of the farthings referred to in the following advertisement:-
"This is to notify that the master of the Cock and Bottle, commonly called the Cock Alehouse, at Temple-bar, hath dismissed his servants, and shut up his house, for this Long Vacation, intending (God willing) to return at Michaelmas next, so that all persons whatsoever who have any accompts with the said master, or farthings belonging to the said house, are desired to repair thither before the 8th of this instant July, and they shall receive satisfaction." The Intelligencer for 1665, No.51
"The Cock Alehouse, adjoining to Temple-bar, is a noted publick-house." Strype, B. iv, p 117
"29th April, 1668. Thence by water to the Temple and there to the Cock Alehouse, and drank, and eat a lobster, and sang, and mightily merry. So almost night, I carried Mrs. Pierce home, and then Knipp and I to the Temple again, and took boat, it being now night." Pepys

Women are not admitted to regale at the Cock Tavern; a Pepys of the present day would have to go somewhere else with his Mrs. Pierce and Mrs. Knipp. The old chimney-piece is of the James I. period. The praises of the present excellent head-waiter have been sung by Alfred Tennyson.

Peter Cunningham, Hand-Book of London, 1850