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.