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Throgmorton Restaurant

The Throgmorton Restaurant, situated at the heart of London's business centre between the Stock Exchange and the Bank of England, was opened on 15 October 1900. Lyons had secured an 80-year lease on a property in Throgmorton Street in 1897 from the Worshipful Company of Drapers and spent £30,000 in building the restaurant and offices above. It became a celebrated eating place by stockbrokers, bankers and insurance brokers who dominate, and have done so for generations, this part of the City of London; the most important business centre in the world.

Throgmorton Street was named after Sir Nicholas Throckmorton, who joined the household of Catherine Parr and became Elizabeth I's ambassador to France and Scotland. Henry VIII's minister, Thomas Cromwell, also had a house here and made himself very unpopular with his neighbours because of his encroachments onto their property. One of these neighbours was John Stow's father who was a tailor*. It is reported that Cromwell dug out of the ground Stow's house, put it on rollers and pulled it 20 feet away from his boundary so that he could extend his garden further down the street. After Cromwell's execution in 1540 the Drapers Company took over his house for their Hall and their present Hall stands on the site. The Stock Exchange is on the south side of the road.

The Throgmorton Restaurant's main dining areas, which are below ground level, were approached by a marble staircase lined with gold mosaic and semicircular in shape. Later a lift was added. At the bottom of the stairs was an oak panelled restaurant (The Oak Room) decorated with marbles and a decorative frieze and paved with mosaic. Beyond was another dining room (The Long Room) richly decorated with marble-lined walls and bevelled wall mirrors giving the room a sense of spaciousness and brightness. To the right was a Grill Room. In the early days there was another small room, referred to as the Millionaires' Room. Here the silk-hatted brokers came, in pre-war days, for fabulous lunches of oysters and Champagne. In this room was a long pole with a large iron loop projecting from its end; rather like a butterfly net but without the net, and its use was to lift the glossy top hats of the customers to and from the highest pegs of the great hat rack. In more recent times this room was converted to a cloak room. It is also worth recording that Lyons, who had their own wine cellars, blended a brand of whisky which they called Throgmorton Whisky.

The restaurant underwent a number of refurbishments in the eighty years it was owned by Lyons the last during the 1970s just prior to the disposal of the restaurant business. Its rooms were also used during the evenings for business diners, retirements and Christmas parties. Just how many deals were brokered during business lunches over a bottle or two of claret and a fine cigar will never be known!

*John Stow trained as a tailor himself and became a chronicler and antiquary and a freeman of Merchant Taylors Company in 1547.




The refurbished Throgmorton Restaurant which opened on 9 September 2004 under the new owners, Mitchells & Butler, at 27b Throgmorton Street, London. The restaurant has been in continuous use for 105 years having originally opened in October 1900.



The Throgmorton Restaurant closed in April 2013.

Pictures and menus courtesy of Laura Shepherd, Agent Anonym, London.

© Peter Bird 2005