Melbourne Wine Merchants Price List, printed for the Paris Universal Exhibition.
London: Grant & Co, 1867. Ephemera. A lavishly gilt embellished wine list produced by the first large scale catering business in the world, Spiers & Pond, which was founded in Melbourne and which sponsored the first cricket test match in Australia.
Felix Spiers (1832 - 1911) and Christopher Pond (1826 - 1881), two British emigrants attracted by the gold rush, were involved in a wide range of successful undertakings in Melbourne: they founded restaurants, were organizers of the first balloon flight in the country, and were the first commercial sponsors of cricket in Australia.
In 1861 they sponsored the first ever tour of an English national cricket team, an event which is seen as igniting the Australian passion for the game. This project was undertaken following an unsuccessful bid to Charles Dickens for a lecture tour of Australia. The tour was named 'The Eleven of All England'. The first game was played in early 1862 and was a great financial success for Spiers & Pond.
The partners returned to London in 1863 where they began a catering business for railway passengers. Spiers & Pond established concessions at several Metropolitan Railway stations and won contracts for restaurants at railway stations throughout the city. They eventually held food contracts for all the major railway lines, and managed 21 bars, which allowed them to claim to be the first to popularize low cost wine in Britain. They ran hotels and restaurants including the Gaiety restaurant and the Criterion.
This wine price list is a 3 fold card with much gold gilt decoration and ornate typography on one side, the text printed in red, green and blue. The text at the front cover of the card reads, "Spiers & Pond [of] London, Paris & Birmingham, formerly of Australia. Wine Merchants, Refreshment Contractors. Contractors in England to the London, Chatham Dover Railway, Metropolitan System of Railways, Royal Italian Opera Covent Garden, and the Royal Horticultural Gardens. Proprietors of the Exchange Tavern & Restaurant Birmingham, Hall by the Sea Margate. Central offices in London, 38 Bridge Street".
The b&w wine list is printed on the verso. The middle panel includes an Australian sparkling wine under "Moselles & Hocks". 9 3/4 x 4 3/4" Very good condition. Item #23347