Tuesday, March 31, 2015

"Hell's Kitchen" or was it "Ella's Kitchen"

The Radcliffe Arms, the first pub built after the railway, opening in 1839, acquired the nickname "Hell's Kitchen." It was assumed that this name came about through the pub's somewhat disreputable reputation. That seems very plausible.

However I have just read an account, written at the end of the 19th century which sid that "Hell's Kitchen" should be more appropriately "Ella's Kitchen."

That's a surprise. Could it be that it was originally called "Ella's Kitchen" and then corrupted to "Hell's Kitchen"?

The proprietors of the Radcliffe Arms at the beginning were Richard and Priscilla Hipewell. Now Priscilla is not a good fit with "Ella" but it is possible that this was how she was known and the early frequenters of the Radcliffe Arms may have preferred to refer to their haunt as "Ella's Kitchen."
The Hipwells were not there very long, or at least they had moved on by 1851, but the name stuck for a while and then, just possibly, some wag said that the place was more like "Hell's Kitchen" than "Ella's Kitchen".

I imagine everybody had a good laugh and decided to adopt the new nickname.

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