1940s >> 1943 >> no-465-may-1943

By The Way

The following is culled from the “City News” of the Daily Express for March 22 :—

  London’s restaurants seem to be well in the money again. Quaglino’s made a loss in 1940 and a profit of only £11,500 in 1941. Now they report a profit of £36,905 for the past year, bringing back dividends after two blank years. Shareholders are to get 10%, the best since 1936. The Company’s 5/- shares, down to 6d. in the blitz, are now 5/6.

For the benefit of provincial and foreign readers, not familiar with the West End of London, it should be explained that ‘Quags’ is perhaps the most exclusive, and therefore expensive, London “joint,” once notorious as the haunt of Royally and high aristocracy.

After four years of Lord Woolton’s belt-tightening, and potato pies, in shilling-a-meal “British Restaurants”; screaming denunciations of food waste and extravagance in the Press; harrowing posters of sinking ships and drowning sailors by the Ministry of Food; this gorging and guzzling den, for the very top layer of the upper crust only, has been more packed than ever since 1936.

Naturally, caviare, hothouse vegetables and fruits, pheasant, grouse, and priceless old wines, are not rationed. They don’t need to be. The normal working of the capitalist system sees to that. What is rationed, peace or war, is the amount of their produce which the workers get back in the form of money-wages.

This is necessarily a small proportion of their product, and condemns them to a very small portion of shoddy goods.

One other interesting sidelight from the company’s report. The patrons of Quaglino’s lost interest in London during the blitz. The Restaurant’s 5/- shares went down to 6d. because some of “the cream” went down to a safe area; until the working class had beaten off the Germans, put the fires out, swept up, put its apron and evening dress on, and sounded the all clear, ready to serve the gilded parasites all over again—poor things !

Horatio.