Created By: Emma Dermott
"A few days later Strange and Sir Walter Pole were playing at billiards at the Bedford in Covent-garden. The game had come to an impasse as Sir Walter had begun, as usual, to accuse Strange of transporting billiard balls about the table by magic. Strange declared that he had done no such thing.
“I saw you touch your nose,” complained Sir Walter.
“Good God!” cried Strange. “A man may sneeze, mayn’t he? I have a cold.”
- Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke
The Bedford coffee house could count among its patrons Fielding, Pope, Sheridan, Churchill, Garrick, Foote, Quinn, Collins, Horace Walpole and others.
Its characters, according to the Connoisseur, 'afforded a greater variety of nearly the same type as those to be found at George's. It was, this authority asserts, crowded every night with men of parts. Almost every one to be met there was a polite scholar and a wit.
But the Bedford coffee-house has a more sensational association. It was here, according to Horace Walpole, that James Hackman spent his last few hours of freedom ere he murdered Martha Ray as she was leaving Covent Garden theatre on the night of April 17th, 1779. No tragedy of that period caused so great a sensation. Miss Ray had for some years been the mistress of the Earl of Sandwich, at whose house Hackman first met and fell in love with her.
- Coffee Houses of Old London by Henry C. Shelley
This point of interest is part of the tour: Mr Norrell's London