The Bricklayer’s Arms in Gresse Street is a characterful historic pub located in the heart of London’s Fitzrovia district.
The downstairs bar is small, divided into two rooms, the back one of which can at times be dominated by a darts board. The upstairs room is larger: a comfortable space furnished with wide sofas and low, glass-topped tables, beneath which are showcased a variety of bricklaying paraphernalia, from practical workman’s trowels to books of old architectural scale drawings. It is also in this upstairs bar where can be found Jeremiah’s Stool.
In the southwest corner of the pub, closest to the window, is a narrow corridor beside the bar, where there is just enough room to sit three bar stools. The corner-most seat, closest to the wall, is Jeremiah’s Stool.
Legend has it, that the Bricklayer’s Arms was the scene of the most one-sided conversation in history. Notorious raconteur Jeremiah Stanton was famed for his loquacity and was regarded as being one of Georgian London’s greatest windbags. It was the misfortune of one Gerard Tigue of Berners Street to find himself trapped on the corner-most stool when Jeremiah chose to sit down next to him. For the next two hours, it is recorded that Jeremiah maintained a near-uninterrupted monologue, during which time the unfortunate Gerard was heard to utter no more than five words.
Finally, in a fit of pique brought on by sheer desperation, Gerard stood up, grabbed his bar stool, and banged its legs down hard three times onto the wooden floor of the pub, shouting out loud “Jeremiah! Jeremiah! Jeremiah!” Only by such dramatic action could he finally halt the torrent of words.
To this day, the corner-most stool, is known as Jeremiah’s Stool, and it is a brave drinker who sits on it without first banging its legs down on the floor and repeating “Jeremiah! Jeremiah! Jeremiah!” lest they should befall the same fate as poor Gerard.
The original stool itself has been changed over the decades––sadly, it is not recorded if the original seat even exists––but thankfully the tradition still survives.