Came home late after an evening at the Argyll Music Hall in Piccadilly [present
site of Trocadero Restaurant], where I heard a singer poke fun at the German
princes who marry into the British Royal Family. Most of the artists appear to
make their appeal with songs about "booze" or how they beat "the old woman,"
presumably the wife. The best part of the show was the chairman, who sits below
the stage, announces the performers, pounds his gavel for order, and consumes
endless and various drinks at the expense of people in the audience who like to
let their friends see that they know the chairman.
I t was very warm in the theatre. I asked for a long drink of lemonade, which here is called "lemon squash." The waiter brought it, luke-warm. "Will you get me some ice, please?" I asked. "Get you what, sir?" he asked in turn. "Ice." "Why?" "To make this stuff drinkable." And then he burst into laughter. "We don't keep it," he said indulgently. I cannot understand how these people exist without ice. I have not seen a chip of it since I landed. As for ice cream, they barely know what it is except at expensive restaurants. The poor only get ale and winkles.
R.D.Blumenfeld's Diary, June 24, 1887