Cache-Control: public, max-age=1024000 The Cider Cellar


This strange place, upon the south side of Maiden-lane, Covent Garden, was opened about 1730, and is described as a "Midnight Concert Room," in Adventures Underground, 1750. Professor Porson was a great lover of cider, the patronymic drink for which the cellar was once famed; it became his nightly haunt, for wherever he spent the evening, he finished the night at the Cider Cellar. One night, in 1795, as he sat here smoking his pipe, with his friend George Gordon, he abruptly said, "Friend George, do you think the widow Lunan an agreeable sort of personage, as times go?" Gordon assented. "In that case," replied Porson, "you must meet me to-morrow morning at St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, at eight o'clock;" and without saying more, Porson paid his reckoning, and went home. Next morning, Gordon repaired to the church, and there found Porson with Mrs. Lunan and a female friend, and the parson waiting to begin the ceremony. The service being ended, the bride and her friend retired by one door of the church, and Porson and Gordon by another. The bride and bridegroom dined together with friends, but after dinner Porson contrived to slip away, and passed the rest of the day with a learned friend, and did not leave till the family were about to retire for the night, when Porson adjourned to the Cider Cellar, and there stayed till eight o'clock next morning. One of his companions here is said to have shouted before Porson, "Dick can beat us all: he can drink all night and spout all day," which greatly pleased the Professor.

We remember the place not many years after Porson's death, when it was, as its name implied, a cellar, and the fittings were rude and rough: over the mantelpiece was a large mezzotint portrait of Porson, framed and glazed, which we take to be the missing portrait named by the Rev. Mr. Watson, in his Life of the Professor. The Cider Cellar was subsequently enlarged; but its exhibitions grew to be too sensational for long existence.

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