Thursday, January 23, 2014

Those Places Thursday (January 23, 2014) -- Simpson's-in-the-Strand, London, England 1955

My late father-in-law was a Professor of Microbiology at the University of Pennsylvania. He was competitively selected for a Fulbright Scholarship under the Scholar Grant program to lecture and/or conduct research at Oxford for a year.  In 1955 - 1956 he, his wife and three children (including my wife Molly) moved to Oxford, England for a year.

During their year abroad, my wife's family took the opportunity to tour England, Ireland and some countries on the continent.  My mother-in-law kept up a regular correspondence with family back home including her parents who lived in Toronto, Canada. Her parents kept the correspondence from their daughter and things like hand-drawn "thank you" notes sent from England by their grandchildren.  These documents were later returned to my mother-in-law and are now available to her children and her grandchildren (our sons).

In September 1955, receptions were held in London for the Fulbright scholars studying in England at the time.  My wife's parents attended, of course, and surely welcomed the getaway to London without the three children (who were 3, 4 and 7 years old). During their getaway, Molly's parents followed up on a suggestion from her mother's father (Dr. G. Douglas Jeffs of Toronto) to try a restaurant called "Simpson's." It was a good suggestion and, on September 26, 1955, Molly's mother sent the above post card back to her father in Toronto  reporting on the results of his suggestion.

The back of the post card from Molly's mother to her father reads as follows. . . 

                                                                                                            Sept. 26, 1955

               At your suggestion we tried Simpson's while Dan & I
               were in London, alone, for the Fulbright receptions.
               It's still good! A huge plate of wonderful roast beef.
               Be sure to put it on your list of places to eat.

                                                                 Love to all,

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Photograph of the original post card in the family collection.

For more information about the Fulbright Program, see

For more interesting information about Simpson's-in-the-Strand traditional English restaurant and its history, see's-in-the-Strand. One of the restaurant's most famous mentions is in the 1961 film "The Guns of Navarone," which obviously could not have influenced Molly's parents' choices in 1955.  In the film, David Niven's character tells his wounded comrade that he is sure to recover from his injury and they will return to London and go straight away to Simpson's and have roast beef! Simpson's is still in business today and its specialty is aged Scottish beef on the bone -- which further explains the front of the post card above. 
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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