London has had a long love affair with grottos, cellars, and caves. Based on the G. Creed collection, a superb discovery in British Library collections of fourteen large folio volumes on taverns in England and Wales, this essay traces the history from eighteenth century follies like Pope's grotto, to the nineteenth century Holes in the Wall, Bob's and Tom's, and Dirty Dick's where dirt, drink, and naughty entertainment were the main attractions. From there a move is made to first London 'cabaret clubs'. The concept of cabaret was a Continental one. Artistic London suddenly became gripped by avant-garde performances, by music from Schoenberg to ragtime, short plays, art exhibits and champagne tango nights.
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