In 1723 Thomas Simpson opened his first Fish Ordinary Restaurant in Bell Alley, Billingsgate. His clientele was mainly those who worked in the fish market who bought him fish which he would prepare specially. After the demolition of Bell Alley he resumed work purchasing the Queen's Arms, Bird in Hand Court, Cheapside.
Traditions and customs were strictly maintained at mealtimes by the Chairman who would preside over each meal. It was they who, for instance, would ensure that lunch would start promptly at one, introduce notable guests and measure the cheese. Many of them were noted for their longevity of life.
Thomas Simpson founded the present site of Simpson's in 1757 which was a gift to him from his father. It is situated opposite The Jamaica Wine House where Pasque Rosee in the mid seventeenth century founded the first London Coffee House.
It was not until 1916 that ladies were admitted and even well into the 20th century 2/- would buy 'The Original Fish Dinner' at one o'clock. Although 2/- will not buy what it did in the 1750's, you can still enjoy everything Simpson's has been noted for over the past 250 years.