Saturday, February 10, 2007

John Weeks Publican

In 18th century Bristol a John Weeks was a famed host, coach proprietor and shipowner.

The first type of sign for a place of alcoholic refreshment was a bush outside the door, leading to the name of the Bush. There was a famous Bush Tavern in Corn Street The word Tavern derives from the Roman word for an inn 'taberna'. In 1775 it was presided over by Mr John Weeks and the directory of that year notes 'Birmingham diligence and a Bath coach go from this inn, post chaises to let'. He served turtles every day and advertised greatly in the newspaper. Later known as the Bush Hotel it was replaced by the South Wales and West of England Bank which was erected in 1858.

September 15th 1784Vincenzo Lunardi, secretary to the Neopolitan Ambassador in London, at last lifted off infront of a crowd of 100,000 or so impatient spectators at the grounds of HonourableArtillery Company to become England's first aerial traveller. Overnight the young Italianbecame a popular hero, with the ballooning craze in this country reaching its peak soonafter. Balloons were all the rage, with Lunardi's ascent being depicted on Bristol Delftbowls, and other items of crockery, while similar designs figured on glasses,handkerchiefs, fans, head dresses, and clock faces, as well as on copper tokens. Anumber of astute businessmen used the balloon's title to christen their commercialundertakings, and in Bristol John Weeks, the patriotic proprietor of the Bush Tavern in Corn Street, started a "Balloon Coach" to London, while others ran from the White Hart inBroad Street, and from Bath .

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