Whilst on the subject of hostelries, a
reference to Lane's will not be amiss. This unique establishment was in St.
Alban's Place, and was affected by the rowdier class of youngsters, with a
sprinkling of permanent residents in various stages of delirium tremens. Dirty
and apparently never swept, the rooms might best be described as cosy. The beds,
however, were scrupulously clean, and as the majority of the lodgers spent a
considerable portion of their existence between the sheets, apple-pie order
reigned in this department, ready for any emergency night or day.
The ruling spirit was old John, an octogenarian in shiny snuff-coloured tail suit and slippers, who apparently never slumbered nor slept, and whom no human eye had ever seen otherwise attired. Assisted by two youngsters of fifty - Charles and Robert - this extraordinary trio knew the habits and tastes of every one; not that eating was extensively indulged in; and beyond the best of joints for dinner, and bacon and eggs for breakfast, the staple consumption for all day and all night might briefly be described as brandy and soda, rum and milk, whilst the more sedate confined themselves to sherry and bitters before breakfast, and a glass of brandy in their tea.
'One of the Old Brigade' (Donald Shaw), London in the Sixties, 1908