Friday, August 6, 2010

Broad Street Chapel

On a recent visit to the UK, we were sure to visit the Broad Street Chapel in Reading, where Froome and Field Talfourd's grandfather (Thomas Noon) had been a minister, and their father (the brewer Edward Talfourd) a deacon. Froome recalled his early years there quite vividly: "I remember being carried to a day school in Chancery Lane by a man named Jim from the brewery, whose clothes smelt of beer, and who used to sweep the road in front of our house on Saturdays. I remember the Chapel, and Mr. Douglas, minister. When feeling sleepy, people stood up, and a Mr. Wilmhurst to do so made faces." If the Talfourds found the services uninspiring, they could not complain: Thomas Noon was apparently a less-than-energetic speaker, by the family's own admission.

While the Talfourds moved to Fulham in 1813, Reading remained important in their lives: notably, Froome and Field's elder brother, Thomas Noon Talfourd, would later represent the area in Parliament. The influence on Froome appeared to be more in regards to the choices he made. He became a fervent temperance advocate, signing the pledge while in Canada. Following the family's involvement in church-life, Froome was also the most pious of the three sons. So while he and Thomas Sutherland may have agreed on the need for churches in Upper Canada, they probably had quite divergent opinions about the necessity of a well-stocked cellar.

In this way, Sutherland may have gotten along better with the eldest Talfourd, whom it appears he met on a visit home. Reports suggest that Thomas Noon Talfourd began his morning with a negus at the Garrick Club on his way to Westminster Hall, stopped again for a night-cap on his way home, and was a bit wobbly by dinner time. I do wonder how much of his reputation as a generous host had to do with the libations at the table--certainly this did much to make Sutherland's hospitality memorable.

I've lifted a recipe from Epicurious for negus, in case anyone else is curious.
  • 1 quart Port
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Grated rind of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Ground nutmeg, to taste
  • Whole cloves, to taste
  • 1 quart boiling water
Heat Port but do not let it boil. Stir in the sugar, lemon juice, grated lemon rind, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. Let the mixture stand in a warm place for about 15 minutes. Pour boiling water into the warm wine and serve immediately. Garnish with grated lemon rind, if desired.


  1. Very cool. Thanks for posting pics and that recipe!
    I am descended from Thomas Noon's daughter, Anne Noon. Do you know where any of the Noons are buried?

  2. If you are descended from Anne Noon, then you are descended from the Talfourds, right? If you haven't looked at the entry on the asylum they ran, you may find it interesting. I write about it in relation to Charles Lamb.
    Anne died in Fulham; her father died in Reading in 1895, and is probably buried there.