Eating and Drinking in the Library: Edward Cecil Guinness and Thomas Wall

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Archive Advent Calendar: 10 December 2013

I promised something “dark and racy” yesterday to wash down our Beeton’s Christmas pudding and here it is.  The brewer and philanthropist Edward Cecil Guinness (1847-1927) appears in the Library’s membership records in 1879 when he was the owner of the second largest brewery in the world. An astonishing businessman with good looks, intelligence and flair Guinness matched his staggering entrepreneurship with a keen eye for social welfare.  In the yearDracula hit the booksellers he established the Guinness Trust for housing the poor in London and Dublin and his philanthropic works gathered apace thereafter.

Guinness is followed in the membership records by another businessman philanthropist whose brand also continues to today Thomas Wall (1846-1930).  The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography describes Wall as “Philanthropist and sausage entrepreneur”.  Note his address -113 Jermyn Street just round the corner from the Library in the spot currently occupied by Rowley’s. Wall’s firm had a royal warrant – his father supplied sausages (albeit enriched with her chef’s own seasoning) to Queen Victoria.

Check in tomorrow for a decidedly theatrical outing from the membership records…

© Helen O’Neill        Archive, Heritage and Development Librarian

Thomas Wall (1846-1930). “Philanthropist and sausage entrepreneur”.

Thomas Wall (1846-1930). “Philanthropist and sausage entrepreneur”.


Brewer and philanthropist Edward Cecil Guinness (1847-1927), London Library member 1879