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Rainbow Tavern, 15 Fleet street, St Dunstan in West EC4

St Dunstan in West pub history Index

RAINBOW TAVERN, No. 15, Fleet Street, was the second coffee house opened in London. In the 17th century, it was in the occupation of several persons, and in 1657, we find it first noticed for the coffee making nuisance. The Wardmote Inquest presentment of December 21st that year, has been often quoted, but the entry in the records has never been given in its complete form. It reads thus :

“ Disorders and Annoys. Item, we pr’sent James Ffarr, barber, for makinge and selling of a “ drinke called coffee, whereby in makeing the same, he annoyeth his neighbrs. by evil smells “and for keeping of ffier for the most pt. night and day, whereby his chimney and chambr. hath “ been sett on ffire, to the great danger and affrightment of his neighbrs. Witness and compts.

" Mr. Ro. Meade, Mr. John Rae, Mr. Daniel Pakeman, Mr. Willm. Leake and Widd. Lashley." Of the five complainants, three were booksellers, and one a noted scrivener. Robert Meade, stationer, was buried in St. Dunstan's Church, September 17th, 1658; Daniel Pakeman, stationer, September 3rd, 1664; William Leake, stationer, December 8th, 1681; Mr. John Ray, or Rea, "scrivener," between the two Temple Gates was knighted by Charles the Second, retired to Richmond, where he was buried February 7th, 1670. Pepys tells us that the notorious miser Hugh Audley of the Temple, once lodged with this Rea, and that having lost by him some £6,000 forgives him in his will without mentioning his name. Audley commenced business in 1605 with £200, and died November 15th, 1662, worth £400,000. În 1636, two men were captured while in the act of robbing his chambers, in the Inner Temple ; they had managed to take, by means of entering a third floor window, some £550, and used the Temple Church for dividing the spoil. One of Hugh Audley's friends was Sir Thomas Davies, of whom Pepys' gossips : “ the little fellow the bookseller, my schoolfellow, and now sheriff, which is a strange turn methinks." Audley left him a legacy, which enabled him, in 1667, to be elected Alderman of Farringdon Without, and continued to represent it till 1680. He was Lord Mayor in 1677, and gave two large silver cups to the Stationers' Company, of which he was master in 1668 and 1669, upon being translated to the Drapers. Three booksellers kept shop at the “Rainbow." Ephraim Dawson, 1636 ; Pakeman, 1650; and Samuel Speed, 1662. Farr was buried in St. Dunstan's, 1680, and at the “Rainbow,” about 1682, was established by Dr. Nicholas Barebone, the Phønix Fire Office, for assuring £100 for seven years by paying 30s. In 1860, at an expense of several thousand pounds, the “ Rainbow” was rebuilt and reopened by Mr. John Argent.

This is still the Rainbow Tavern by 1921, but run by the Bodega Co Ltd, and later just called Bodegas by 1934. There is more detail about it as an early coffee house on my London taverns site.

A listing of historical London public houses, Taverns, Inns, Beer Houses and Hotels in  St Dunstan in West, City of London.

Residents at this address

1657/James Farr/../../../.. **

A halfpenny token exists for James Farr, a barber, in 1666 with an arched Rainbow

c.1780/Alexander Moncrieff/../../../British History on Line **

1791/William Blaker/../../../Proceedings of the Old Bailey **

1795/Richard Deeme/../../../Proceedings of the Old Bailey **

Morning Advertiser 20 November 1809 - Licensed Victuallers Association
The following are additional subscribers since the last advertisement of one pound, one shilling, i.e. one guinea:
Mr Deeme, Rainbow, Fleet street

1811/Marg Deeme, the Rainbow, 15 Fleet street/../../Holdens Directory

1825/William Colls/../../../Pigots Office Directory **

1825/Mr Colls, Rainbow Tavern, Fleet street/../../Licensed Victuallers Association

1827/Colls/../../../Licensed Victuallers Association

1829/Christopher William Collis/../../../Proceedings of the Old Bailey **

1832/William Colls, Rainbow, 15 Fleet street/../../Robsons Directory

4 April 1833/Insured: Isaac Argent, The Rainbow Fleet Street, victualler - Other property or occupiers: Northumberland Alley Fenchurch Street/../../Sun Fire Insurance records at the LMA

1839/Isaac Argent/../../../Pigots Directory

1841/Isaac Argent/../../../Post Office Directory **

1841/Isaac Argent/Innholder/40/../Census
1841/John Argent/../14/../Census
1841/Abraham Hunell/../20/../Census
1841/Elizabeth Hall/../25/../Census
1841/Jane Murrell/Independant/20/../Census
1841/Margaret Baxter/Female Servant/25/Scotland/Census
1841/Catherine Mullins/Female Servant/40/Ireland/Census
1841/Mary Bird/Female Servant/30/Ireland/Census
1841/John Richards/Male Servant/20/../Census
1841/John Carpenter/Male Servant/20/../Census
1841/John Buckfield/Male Servant/25/../Census

1842/Isaac Argent/../../../P.O. Directory **

1842/Isaac Argent/../../../Robson’s Directory **

1843/Isaac Argent/../../../Post Office Directory

1848/Isaac Argent/../../../Post Office Directory

1851/Isaac Argent/../../../Kellys Directory

1851/Isaac Argent/Tavern Keeper, Widow/56/Halstead, Essex/Census
1851/John Argent/Son, Tavern Keeper/24/Blackfriars Road/Census
1851/Eleanor Argent/DAughter/23/Strand/Census
1851/Mary Ann Mattthews/Barmaid/32/Middlesex/Census
1851/Sarah Green/Barmaid/22/../Census
1851/Charles Mapper/Cook/18/Middlesex/Census
1851/John Bird/Waiter/24/Middlesex/Census
1851/Henry Thompson/Waiter/22/Cambridge/Census
1851/John Gilbert/Porter/36/Hertfordshire/Census
1851/Richard Berry/Waiter/15/Middlesex/Census
1851/_ Stopley/Cook/17/Nubia Africa/Census
1851/Emma Chambers/Housemaid/24/Hertfordshire/Census
1851/Margaret Conley/Kitchenmaid/27/Dublin/Census
1851/Julia Sullivan/Scullerymaid/20/Cork/Census
1851/Julia Farnham/Lodger/50/America/Census

1852/Isaac Argent/../../../Post Office Directory **

October1853/Isaac Argent/Outgoing Licensee/../../Era

October 1853/John Argent/Incoming Licensee/../../Era

1856/John Argent/../../../Post Office Directory

1860/John Argent/../../../The Draper & Clothier, Travellers’ Hand-Book **

February 1861/John Argent and Edward Ashwell/Outgoing Licensee/../../London City Press

February 1861/John Nadin/Incoming Licensee/../../London City Press

1861/John Nadin/Tavern Keeper/46/Ripton, Derbyshire/Census
1861/Sarah Nadin/Wife/50/Longford, Derbyshire/Census
1861/Mary Nadin/Daughter, Barmaid/20/Derby, Derbyshire/Census
1861/Anne J Howel/Barmaid/21/Watford, Hertfordshire/Census
1861/Mary Ann Togwel/Kitchenmaid/30/Norfolk/Census
1861/Margaret Peel/Kitchenmaid/26/Ireland/Census
1861/Elizabeth Eaton/Scullerymaid/21/Shoreditch, Middlesex/Census
1861/Elizabeth Barnett/Housemaid/27/Westminster, Middlesex/Census

May 1862/John Nadin/Outgoing Licensee/../../Era

May 1862/William Samuel Hall/Incoming Licensee/../../Era

Era 15 December 1867 - License transfers
Rainbow, Fleet street, William Samuel Hale to Henry Cooper

1869/Henry Cooper/../../../Post Office Directory

1871/Arthur Gurney/Manager Hotel/35/Hendon, Middlesex/Census
1871/Charlotte Tatnall/Housekeeper/33/Ramsgate, Kent/Census
1871/Louisa Wood/Barmaid/23/Middlesex/Census
1871/Emma Driver/Barmaid/19/Carshalton, Surrey/Census
1871/Mary Ann Heath/Linenmaid/22/Lewisham, Kent/Census
1871/Margaret Lewis/Housemaid/21/Clerkenwell/Census

1878/Henry Cooper/../../../Post Office Directory **

1881/George Skegg/Licensed Victuallers Representative/33/Hertingfordbury, Hertford/Census
1881/Eliza Bartley/Housekeeper/45/Slaugham, Sussex/Census
1881/Ada Barnes/Assistant/26/Reedham, Norfolk/Census
1881/Alice Braithwaite/Housemaid/26/ (Nat B S), America/Census
1881/Ellen Condon/Kitchen Maid/19/Cork County/Census
1881/Annie Stotter/Kitchen Maid/20/London City, Middlesex/Census
1881/Frances Saddington/Assistant/28/Appleby, Derby/Census

1882/Henry Cooper/../../../Post Office Directory

1884/Henry Cooper/../../../Post Office Directory

1886/Henry Cooper, Rainbow Tavern, 15 Fleet street/../../Post Office Directory

1899/../Rainbow Tavern/../../Post Office Directory

1902/../Bodega Co Ltd, The Wine Merchants/../../BT telephone Directory

1909/../Bodega Co Ltd, The Wine Merchants/../../BT telephone Directory

1916/../Bodega Co Ltd, The Wine Merchants/../../BT telephone Directory

1921/Bodega Co Ltd/Rainbow Tavern/../../Post Office Directory

1925/../Bodega Co Ltd/../../BT telephone Directory

My great grandfather, Reginald William Smith was a caterer / publican. He married into the Hobday family - Hobday/Latham, who I believe were publicans as well. I believe my g-grandfather's sister married into another publican family (Robert Congden Sibun) of the Red Brick Hotel in Sussex and Viaduct Tavern in Holborn.
He wrote to my grandmother in the mid 1930's - the letterhead reads The White Heather Club - 59 Chancery Lane, Holborn. ***

21 September 1925/Reginald William Smith/Licensed Victualler/../../Death Certificate of daughter ***
21 September 1925/Constance Pearl Smith/Daughter/2/../Death Certificate

1934/../Bodega/../../Kellys Directory

1938/../Bodega/../../Post Office Directory

1944/../Bodegas/../../Post Office Directory

1946/Rainbow/Bodega Co Ltd/../../BT telephone Directory

1953/Rainbow/Bodega Co Ltd/../../BT telephone Directory

** Provided By Stephen Harris

*** Provided By Mark Bolton

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