Happy 130th birthday! A toast to Bertie Wooster from Wodehouse with a tour of his pubs in London
Happy 130th birthday! A toast to PG Wodehouse’s hilariously dark toff Bertie Wooster on his anniversary with a tour of his London pubs
- Bertie Wooster, the darkest young git in literary history, was born in 1892
- To celebrate the anniversary, Harry Mount toured Bertie’s Mayfair
- His explorations began from the spot where Wooster met his valet, Jeeves
The somber young toff in literary history—employer to the shimmering servant (never butler), Jeeves—was born in 1892.
Its creator, PG Wodehouse, never reveals his birthday. But he’s 24 in Jeeves Takes Charge, published November 1916. So Bertie was born 130 years ago.
To celebrate this milestone, I took a browsing and sluicing (food and drink) tour of Bertie Wooster’s Mayfair – the swankiest part of London as it was in Wodehouse’s day. The Georgian and Victorian houses and shops are very similar today.
And Jeeves and Wooster’s pubs are still open.
Harry Mount goes to London’s Mayfair (pictured) to follow in the footsteps of PG Wodehouse’s Bertie Wooster in honor of Bertie’s 130th birthday
I started in front of Bertie’s apartment on the third floor of 15 Berkeley Street. This is the immortal place of Bertie and Jeeves’ first meeting. Jeeves turns him into a hangover cure that clears the fog, and Bertie realizes he has a genius on his hands.
Wodehouse lived in the same apartment. As a starting point for Bertie’s favorite places, he chose his favorite places in London, where he lived from 1919 to 1939.
There were a few dark clouds in Bertie’s carefree, work-free life. His neighbor at 47 Charles Street was Aunt Dahlia. Bertie said, “It’s not often that Aunt Dahlia lets her raging passions arise, but when she does, strong men climb trees and drag her behind them.”
I stopped by Heywood Hill, the Mayfair bookstore that Bertie would have known well, even if he wasn’t that fond of reading.
I was ready for a drink, as Bertie was any time of the day. Opposite Aunt Dahlia is The Footman pub, the original location of Junior Ganymede Club, Jeeves. I had a haggis scotch egg (8 pounds) – the kind of Edwardian food Bertie liked in his lunchtime nose-bag.
Harry stops by Heywood Hill, “the Mayfair bookshop that Bertie would have known well, even if he didn’t like to read”. Image courtesy of Creative Commons
Harry went to the apartment at 15 Berkeley Street where Wodehouse, pictured left, lived. It also served as Wooster’s apartment. Pictured at right are Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry in the 1990s TV adaptation Jeeves and Wooster
I’ve toasted Bertie with his favorite drink, a £7.25 brandy and soda, and it’s a short detour to Bertie Wooster’s Club Drones, home of the kingdom’s drunkest young men including G D’Arcy’ Stilton ‘ Cheesewright. Drones was based on Buck’s Club – a lovely terraced house that still does well at 18 Clifford Street near the shops of Bond Street.
The club was founded by blues officer Captain Herbert Buckmaster – aka Buck’s.
Buckmaster installed an American cocktail bar and Buck’s Fizz was invented here by barman Mr. McGarry – also the name of the Drones barman.
So raise a Buck’s Fizz on Bertie’s 130th birthday and his words, “It was my Uncle George who discovered that alcohol was a food far ahead of modern medical thinking.”
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/escape/article-11536593/Happy-130th-birthday-Toasting-Wodehouses-Bertie-Wooster-tour-London-watering-holes.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Happy 130th birthday! A toast to Bertie Wooster from Wodehouse with a tour of his pubs in London