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On the west side of Hampstead Road, at its southern end where it now joins Euston Road, stood the Adam and Eve, a place of entertainment which was a popular resort when the surroundings of Tottenham Court were still rural. It stood opposite the site of the manor house of Tottenham Court.
It was famous for its quiet orchards of wild fruit trees.
William Hone, in his Yearbook (1832), remembered the Adam and Eve “with spacious gardens at the side and in the rear, a fore-court with large timber trees, and tables and benches for out-door customers.” He speaks of the bowers and arbours for tea-drinking parties in the garden. The name of the inn goes back to 1718 and it is to be seen in Hogarth’s March of the Guards to Finchley in 1745 and it may be this inn to which George Wither, in Britain’s Remembrancer (1628), refers when he speaks of people resorting to Tottenham Court for cakes and cream.
The 1804 book ‘The Picture Of London’ describes a “small organ in the room upstairs, where tea, wine and punch are regulaly served”.
Towards the end of the 18th century the gardens became hemmed in with houses and were frequented by criminals and prostitutes. In the early 19th century they were shut by the magistrates. They were reopened as a tavern in 1813.
The following is taken from “The History of the United Parishes of St Giles In The Fields by “Rowland Dobie” (1834):
These premises are at the corner of the Hampstead Road, and the New Road to Paddington, which is the site of the old manor house of Toten Hall. This was a lordship belonging to the deans of St. Paul’s Cathedral at the time of the Norman conquest. In 1560 it demised to the crown, and has always since been held on lease. In 1768 the manor vested in Lord Southampton, whose heirs pay an annuity, in lieu of a reserved rent, to the prebendary of Tottenham. Contiguous to the Adam and Eve, and near the reservoir of the New River Company, in the Hampstead road, there was lately standing an ancient house, called, in various old records, King John’s Palace. The Adam and Eve is now denominated a coffee-house, and that part which has been built of late years, and fronts the Paddington New road, with the sign board at the top corner, is used for tavern purposes, and connects with the older part of the building; the entrance to which is through the gateway with the lamp over it, in the Hampstead road. Within alone, with spacious gardens in the rear and at the sides, and a fore-court with large timber trees, and tables and benches for out-of-door customers. In the gardens were fruit-trees, and bowers, and arbours, for tea-drinking parties. In the rear there were not any houses; now there is a town.
At that time the “Adam and Eve Tea Gardens” were resorted to by thousands, as the end of a short walk into the country; and the trees were allowed to grow and expand naturally, unrestricted by art or fashion, which then were unknown to many such places as this, and others in the vicinage of London. At that time, too, there was only one Paddington stage. It was driven by the proprietor, or, rather, tediously dragged, along the clayey road from Paddington to the city, in the morning, and performed its journey in about two hours and a-half. It returned to Paddington in the evening, within three hours from its leaving the city; this was deemed “fair time,” considering the necessity for precaution against accidents of “night travelling!”
William Hogarth’s print “The March Of The Guards To Finchley” shows crowds gathering outside of the tea rooms.