Bunch – Chow-Chow

BUNCH -THE BUNCH OF GRAPES ‘ ‘ B U N C H ’ ’,
The Bunch of Grapes, Brompton Road, S.W.7

 

SOME interesting observations on the inn (which I take to include
the pub) have been made in Tales of Old Inn by Richard Keverne.
The author wrote:
The English inn has a great tradition. Down through the
centuries, its hospitality has been remarked by the foreign
traveller in Britain. Its heyday was the coaching era, and along
the great coaching roads of Britain the old inns ,ourished and
expanded to meet the demands of ‘the ever-increasing road
tragic.

 

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The Bunch of Grapes

The railway and Victorian snobbery came near to killing
the inn. The tragic left the roads, and the old coaching-houses
became but ghosts of their former selves. But the inn began to
,flourish again. The people began to ,flock out in their thousands
on what had once been the coaching roads in an effort to escape
from the drabness of city life. And, in the period between the
wars, the inns of England became even more prosperous than
in the coaching era. During the war they played their part,
‘ and there were few soldiers overseas who, when they thought
of home, did not also remember some snug bar or quaint little
roadside inn with affection.

The observer may consider that Mr. Keverne is perhaps too
sweeping in his judgment of “snobbish” on the Victorian scene;
for this is indeed an age which is full, of traps for he who dares to
generalize on its characteristics.

Nevertheless, the broad picture is authentic. And what our
author wrote over ten years ago is still unchallenged. True it is
that many thousands of Empire and Commonwealth and American
forces will remember with true affection the British pub. And
we can be tolerably certain that this generous feeling included that
essential figure of any pub”our servant, a dog. ‘

Bunch – Black Chow-Chow

Whatever we may think of the Victorians, it is safe to guess
that they might well be startled by the joyous scenes of a Sunday
morning in The Bunch of Grapes. Today the best pubs (and they
are just around the corner) have become places where you can
take your wife, your mother or your girl-friend for a convivial
drink.

Here you will find pleasant surroundings; here you can meet
your friends and let of, steam, for this last is an essential feature of
all good pubs”-a place where you can grumble to your heart’s
content at anything in the world, and no one will take offence.
Perhaps you’ve been to Divine Service at Holy Trinity or at
Brompton Oratory? What better than a nice pre’-lunch drink in
The Bunch, which is very close indeed to both churches? You come
across mention of The Bunch in a good deal of contemporary liter-
ature. The last, I think, was in Send Him Victorious, in which two of
the characters left the Oratory to visit it. .

A Bunch of Grapes ?

All the main decorations, including the brass flower-pots, are
designed in the form of a bunch of grapes. There is a very beautifully
carved screen of teak, also depicting grapes, which was presented
to the house when the “Australian” public house in Cadogan
Street finally closed its doors many years ago.

During the last war a customer showed the landlord a pewter
tankard which he cherished, and unfortunately, wouldn’t part
with. On it was inscribed “George III or (something) Bunch of
Grapes, Brompton Road, Knightsbridge”.

It follows from what we have already seen that the canine of
the house had to be called Bunch. He is more like a black chow
than anything else. He seems to know everybody, and an especially
warm welcome is given to all who have a meal!

Although only a year old, Bunch is an extremely fussy gentle-
man. For example, he adores an early cup of tea. But not just any
cup”dear me, no. It has to be the first cup out of the pot. It’s
either that or nothing so far as Bunch is concerned.

Another of his pleasing characteristics is his thoughtfulness.
This thoughtfulness has probably something to do with his peculiar
fondness for gloves. He will never, under any circumstances, miss
or leave a pair of gloves when the time comes for him to depart
from any company.

And so we may take an affectionate farewell of Bunch, knowing
where to return if we find that we have lost our gloves. They won’t
be lost for good. . . . ‘

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