Survey of London: Volumes 29 and 30, St James Westminster, Part 1. Originally published by London County Council, London, 1960.
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Ozinda's Chocolate House
Ozinda's chocolate house stood on the north side of St. James's Palace, and formed part of a group of buildings which were demolished in 1748, the site being laid into the present roadway. (fn. 1) It faced west, and its front was in line with those of the houses on the east side of St. James's Street. From 1694 to 1722 the proprietor was Dominico Osenda of St. James's, merchant. By his will, which was proved in 1722, he directed that the Earl of Carlisle might choose any one of his pictures (except the one by Rottenhamer) and bequeathed the residue of his property to his brother, Oneratt Osenda. (fn. 2) The ratebooks for 1723 give 'Honorée Osando'. On 28 March 1724 The Daily Post contained the following advertisement: 'Mr. Ozinda, keeping the Chocolate-house joining to St. James's Gate, being dispos'd to return to France, intends by Auction to sell all his Household Goods and Pictures, amongst which is that celebrated one of the History of the Old and New Testament, painted by Rottenhamer, with a curious Model of a Ship in a Glass Case, and likewise his Shop Goods, consisting of several Sorts of Snuffs, as old Havana and Seville, etc. with Several Sorts of superfine Liquors of his own making, as Egro de Cedro, Cinamon Water, Piercico, etc. with a Quantity of Hermitage Wine, which will be lotted out by Dozens. . . . The House is likewise to be Lett.' From 1726 until the demolition of the house in 1748 the ratepayer was George Lodge, a servant of Dominico Osenda, (fn. 2) and it is possible that he bought the business.
Ozinda's was a popular Tory rendezvous in the early years of the eighteenth century. (fn. 3) In his diary William Byrd of Virginia makes it clear that drinking chocolate, betting and reading the newspapers were the main attractions of the establishment. (fn. 4) Swift records that one of the meetings of the dining club of which he was a member was held at Ozinda's, and that the meal was brought in from the Palace: 'dinner was dressed in the Queen's kitchen and was mighty fine. We eat it at Ozinda's Chocolate-house, just by St. James's. We were never merrier, nor better company, and did not part till after eleven.' (fn. 5)