HistoryCurious to know how The Hand and Flower got its name? Here’s the story…
Edwin Hand, born in London in 1822, was the son of an east end barrow boy.
Blessed with the gift of the gab and a winning smile, Edwin carved out an existence as a street hawker. Ambitious as he was, it was not long before young Edwin realised the rather more lucrative profession of petty crime.
Surrounding himself with other like-minded individuals, he quickly established the notorious 'quality street' gang – so-called because of their penchant for stealing only the finest silk ties and jewellery from the well healed gentry that frequented the coffee houses and bars of Victorian London.
With a twinkle in his eye and a dashing gait, the young Edwin could have his pick of the local flower girls and seamstresses – but it was to the daughter of a wealthy merchant that his attentions were focused.
Falling in love with his 'flower', as he called her, he made repeated attempts to win her affection. Her father had rather more elevated ideas for his daughter’s future though, and hid her away.
Not to be undone, Edwin used the small fortune he had amassed to purchase the freehold of No.1 Hammersmith Road in a bid to establish a legitimate business that would finally convince the family of 'his flower' that he was indeed worthy of her hand.
It is here that the records stop - so one can only guess at how the romantic element of The Hand and Flower story unfolded. What we do know, is that the 'Hand & Flower' itself was a very popular public house of the day – and was the base from which Mr Hand conducted his business as his empire continued to grow.