Did Charles Dickens Use This Spoon?

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Did Charles Dickens Use This Spoon?

Postby dognose » Sun Jun 10, 2018 1:24 pm

A basting spoon by Thomas Northcote, assayed at London in 1786, with the engraved owner's name of 'Woods' Hotel':


TN - London - 1786


Woods' Hotel

WOODS' HOTEL, within Furnival's Inn, London, E.C.

Telegraphic Address :—" Woodsdon, London." Telephone Number :—" 2,536."

In the very heart of London, in the midst of the hurly-burly, there is one quiet spot where the din of the busy thoroughfares does not penetrate. Woods' Hotel, in Furnival's Inn— within a few minutes' ride of the principal theatres and popular places of entertainment, a shilling cab-fare to and from the same, a short walk from the British Museum, and in the centre of legal London—is a country house in town, a secluded spot, surrounded by scenes of business and pleasure, about the only hotel in the metropolis where one can find peace and quietness within a stone's throw of all the elements which unite to constitute the noisiest and busiest capital of Europe. But it is not only on account of its immunity from disturbance that Woods' Hotel is celebrated. It has historical associations which will, so long as its walls remain standing, be a source of attraction to all who revere the name of England's greatest novelist. Within that peaceful retreat the late Charles Dickens wrote part of the immortal "Pickwick Papers." The very rooms occupied by the master of fiction are reverentially preserved by the present proprietor of Woods' Hotel, who delights in showing them to his guests. With such strong recommendations as those above mentioned, it is no matter for surprise that this hostelry is visited by professional men from all parts of the kingdom, whose business while in town demands a residence within easy access of the City and the legal haunts of the metropolis.

Woods' Hotel, which can boast of an uninterrupted proprietorship of sixty-seven years, is the favourite house of a great number of lawyers and engineers, as well as Judges and dignitaries of the Church. Many ladies say that it is the only house in town where they can stay unaccompanied by a gentleman, because there is a special coffee-room for the fair sex; and others, who are used to attending daily prayers at home, never fail to stay at "Woods'" while in London, because there is a chapel attached to the hotel, and a chaplain who attends for prayers morning and evening, a feature introduced by the late Mr. Woods, and still strictly observed by the present proprietor, Mr. John Whaley, who, although anxious to maintain the original character of the house, is yet mindful of the wants of the present generation; therefore, without effecting a complete transformation, he has considerably modified and improved the original hotel, introducing electric bells, the most approved forms of ventilators, heating, lighting, and sanitary arrangements by John Bolding & Co., modern furniture and upholstery by Messrs. Maple & Co., without destroying that peaceful air of home comfort which has always been its chief feature.

The new wing was designed by Messrs. Isaacs & Florence, architects, and erected by Messrs. Patman & Fotheringham, the well-known builders. There are now 170 rooms in the hotel, including a fine new smoking-room, with artistic Jacobean overmantels; this room is illuminated by the Wenham light. The bedrooms are all furnished in the same style, and contain every convenience. There are two fine coffee-rooms, and a large number of private suites of apartments. The lavatory is perfect in sanitary completeness. Mr. Whaley's wine storage arrangements are so complete that he can boast of being able to offer a visitor a perfectly cool glass of champagne or hock in the height of summer, and a warm glass of claret in the depth of winter. Cigars, too, of the finest brands, are obtainable at Woods' Hotel. There is a telephone exchange for the use of guests, and a letter-box, which is cleared every hour.

The tariff is moderate, and the cuisine, which is of the good old English style, is all that can be desired, the saddle of mutton being the chef d'teuvre at this house.

Tho following is extracted from the World, March 17, 1886:—"Some time ago I suggested that the Society of Arts should place a mural tablet on the chambers in Furnival's Inn which were occupied by Charles Dickens while he was engaged in writing ' Pickwick.' Through the secretary of the Society (Mr. H. T. Wood) I received an obliging intimation that they would be glad to do as I proposed, but that, as it was believed that those chambers had since been absorbed into Woods' Hotel, there was some difficulty in finding the exact locality. The proprietor of the hotel, however, has entered into the question con amore, and by an inspection of the rent-roll book from 1834 to 1837, he has discovered that, during the greater part of that time, Charles Dickens occupied chambers at No. 15 on the third floor, and, subsequently, at No. 12. The tablet has now, consequently, been fixed upon the wall of what were once Dickens' chambers."

Source: Wyman's Commercial Encyclopædia of Leading Manufacturers of Great Britain - Wyman & Sons - 1888

Perhaps the great novelist was served with this very spoon?


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