DESTRUCTION OF TAVERNS BY FIRE
On the morning of the 25th of March, 1748, a most calamitous and destructive fire commenced at a peruke-maker's, named Eldridge, in Exchange Alley, Cornhill; and within twelve hours totally destroyed between 90 and 100 houses, besides damaging many others. The flames spread in three directions at once, and extending into Cornhill, consumed about twenty houses there, including the London Assurance Office; the Fleece and the Three Tuns Taverns; and Tom's and the Rainbow Coffee-houses. In Exchange Alley, the Swan Tavern, with Garraway's, Jonathan's and the Jerusalem Coffee-houses, were burnt down; and in the contiguous avenues and Birchin-lane, the George and Vulture Tavern, with several other coffee-houses, underwent a like fate. Mr. Eldridge, with his wife, children, and servants, all perished in the flames. The value of the effects and merchandise destroyed was computed at 200,000l., exclusive of that of the numerous buildings.
In the above fire was consumed the house in which was born the poet Gray; and the injury which his property sustained on the occasion, induced him to sink a great part of the remainder in purchasing an annuity: his father had been an Exchange broker. The house was within a few doors of Birchin-lane.
Club Life of London Vol. II