Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 Cock Tavern Threadneedle Street


This noted house, which faced the north gate of the old Royal Exchange, was long celebrated for the excellence of its soups, which were served at an economical price, in silver. One of its proprietors was, it is believed, John Ellis, an eccentric character, and a writer of some reputation, who died in 1791. Eight stanzas addressed to him in praise of the tavern, commenced thus:—

"When to Ellis I write, I in verse must indite,

Come Phœbus, and give me a knock,

For on Fryday at eight, all behind 'the 'Change gate,'

Master Ellis will be at 'The Cock.'"

After comparing it to other houses, the Pope's Head, the King's Arms, the Black Swan, and the Fountain, and declaring the Cock the best, it ends:

"'Tis time to be gone, for the 'Change has struck one:

O 'tis an impertinent clock!

For with Ellis I'd stay from December to May;

I'll stick to my Friend, and 'The Cock!'"

This house was taken down in 1841; when, in a claim for compensation made by the proprietor, the trade in three years was proved to have been 344,720 basins of various soups—viz. 166,240 mock turtle, 3,920 giblet, 59,360 ox-tail, 31,072 bouilli, 84,128 gravy and other soups: sometimes 500 basins of soup were sold in a day.

John Timbs
Club Life of London Vol. II
London, 1866