8. Lost London – The Jerusalem Coffee House…
Jerusalem Coffee House
Lost London – The Jerusalem Coffee House…
Once located in Cowper’s Court, just off Cornhill, this City of London establishment was in the 1770s said to be a favoured place to gather of members of the East India Company.
Along with other coffee houses like the more famous Lloyds, it was one of those locations where shipping news would first be broken. As well as attracting those associated with the East India Company, it had also been popular with traders connected to the South Sea Company.
Most famously, this was where, in 1845, John Tawell was apparently apprehended for murdering his mistress Sarah Hart by giving her prussic acid, apparently to prevent his affair becoming known.
His arrest became famous thanks to the fact the telegraph system was used by police for the first time to help apprehend a suspect. In this case it was used to send a message from Slough, where a person matching Tawell’s description had been seen boarding a train to Paddington.
Police were hence waiting when Tawell arrived at Paddington. He was subsequently tailed and eventually arrested the next morning in the Jerusalem Coffee House.
Tawell was hanged in Aylesbury on 28th March that year following his conviction (he’d put forward a somewhat implausible defence that Hart had been killed after eating apples and accidentally ingesting the pips which contained the acid).
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem went into decline in the mid-19th century and eventually disappeared from the fabric of the city.
PICTURE: The entrance to Cowper’s Court today (Google Maps).