Monday, November 21, 2022

My Friend Arthur

Section:

Matthew Steeples remembers the late, great Arthur Woodham, the owner of Arthur’s Cafe in Dalston and La Brasserie’s best customer at the bar on a Saturday afternoon

 

Arthur Woodham told me: “I don’t drink in my manor” each and every Saturday. We sat together at the bar at the sadly now defunct La Brasserie in South Kensington and whilst he drank Smirnoff Vodka (he’d certainly never tolerate anything else; especially “that poison” Grey Goose), I had my rather oversized gin and somewhat limited tonic. We chatted about all sorts of nonsense, encountered many a mad drunk and occasionally Arthur’s delightful daughter, Elaine, came and took him home in her taxi.

 

blank

The pair of us (and many other equally drink-friendly ‘bar fly’ friends) sat enjoying the very best (and cheapest) drinks in SW3 and observing the restaurant’s best and worst customers also (Arthur was particularly amused by ‘The Crossword Couple’ – a pair he described as “bloody bores” due to the fact they shared a cocktail and complained about the music). We laughed and we chatted and Arthur regaled me with tales of the East End’s greatest and grimmest. He informed me the Krays were “ponces” and he told me all about his renowned establishment, Arthur’s Cafe in Kingsland Road, Dalston.

blank
blank

 

Sadly, I visited Arthur’s business on only one occasion. Arthur refused to take payment from myself and my two friends but he gave us the greatest experience. He didn’t serve toast after 11.30am and he didn’t serve chips before 12 noon. Here was a man with a mantra but here also was a gent with a heart. Arthur was a truly lovely man and he was the best company many could have imagined.

 

Many articles have been written post his passing about the food and drink he served but I’d like to say this: Arthur – I hope you’re having as many Smirnoffs as you want in the sky. You were a true gentleman and I am honoured you were my friend.

 

Arthur Woodham died aged 91 on 7th January 2018. He leaves behind his wife Eileen, two children, two grandchildren and three great grandchildren.

 

Follow The Steeple Times on Twitter at @SteepleTimes.

 

blank
blank
The Steeple Times
The Steeple Times
We research and background check our articles. If you believe we have made and error in some detail please get in touch, we seek always to write the truth and stand against a press owned by a self selected few. Please help us, we will accept all your likes, subscriptions and anonymous suport. The Editor and his team at the Steeple Times.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Commiserations. When people die, one always feels sorry for the family but one never really thinks to the same extent that friends are utterly devastated, too.

  2. Very sorry to hear of Arthur’s passing. Though a cliché, he truly was one of a kind, as was his café. Working further up Kingsland Road, near the Waste in the early 1990s my fellow work mates and I became lunchtime regulars. Back then, good, affordable places to eat were few and far between. We would walk with anticipation to Arthur’s Cafe, be greeted by Arthur in his neat white coat, James or Jenny, sit down at the terrazzo tables and choose from the menu. Whatever we decided on — in the summer perhaps a precisely assembled ham and salad (never forgetting the beetroot) sandwich in crusty white, expertly made by James; in winter maybe a stewed steak ‘with a lot of gravy’ in a shallow bowl — it unfailingly hit the spot. Equally unfailingly, when you made your order Arthur would repeat it back to you but in a completely different sequence to how you’d said it — just for the sheer hell of confusing you. You’d hear a customer order a glass of milk and Arthur would raise his voice for ‘one white wine’! He had his ways and his ways were what made Arthur’s Arthur’s.

    The first time I ever saw a mobile phone was in Arthur’s. Back then these were the size of big heavy bricks and were placed ostentatiously on the table by loud-voiced tradesmen: plumbers, brickies, or sparks who would try, but usually fail, to get a rise out of Arthur by ribbing him about this or that.

    The hipsterfication of Dalston and much of the rest of London goes hand in hand with the onward march of food ‘culture’: so-called ‘street food’, anything with the prefix ‘proper’ in it and ‘pop-up’ this, that and the others. This process has taken something basic — our need to eat — and transformed it into a self-conscious lifestyle choice. But Arthur’s Cafe was keeping it real well before ‘keeping it real’ even became a thing. Under Arthur’s grandson James, I — and I’m sure many, many others — sincerely hope that this venerable institution may long continue. Already missed but not forgotten: thanks for everything Arthur.

  3. Uncle Arthur was a great person,I know we met a few times but them times were truly amazing. Rip uncle,your with your brother now (my grandad) I’ll always be thinking about you. Love you loads uncle Arthur

    • Alex my grandad was not your uncle and you met him twice

      I love reading this article Matthew about my grandad it makes me really smile thank you so much for your kind words.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

£1 per week Supports The Steeple Times

Help journalism to remain honest & independent. You can make a difference to the world today.

3,089FansLike
2,068FollowersFollow
14,460FollowersFollow

Subscribe For DAILY NEWS

Please subscribe, like and share this unique site, it helps us tremendously. The Steeple Times in return will send you an email at noon each and everyday, that we sincerely hope you will enjoy & look forward to seeing in your inbox.

AD
Advertisement

Trending Now

Suspended Sommers Speaks – Kirby Sommers To Speak About Twitter Suspension Just As Fergie’s ‘Toesucker’ Blabs Also

‘The Steeple Times’ urges readers to tune into the listen to the crusading author of ‘Ghislaine Maxwell: An Unauthorized Biography’ Kirby Sommers speak about her suspension from Twitter just as Jeffrey Epstein associate Donald Trump is allowed to return and John Bryan blabs about ‘Randy Andy’s’ disastrous interview.

Word of the Week 2022 – ‘Quafftide’ – A Drinker’s Delight

A 16th century word – ‘quafftide’ – announcing that “it’s time for a drink” is something that should be added to the vocabulary of every single household in the land.

Glued To Grimsby – News Tends To Stick In This Grim Fishing Port

As the story of a man who glued himself to a desk in a NatWest in Grimsby is declared “breaking news,” we delve into some other odd things that have gone on in this decidedly grim fishing port; they include it being the birthplace of the ‘Neighbours’ actress who played the bumptious busybody Mrs Mangel and home to the scissor stabber who used to be dresser to Sarah, Duchess of York.

Excuses Not Apologies – “Sorry” Is Clearly Not A Word Either Ferne McCann Or Phillip Schofield Actually Want To Say

The latest pathetic excuses not apologies offered by ITV presenters Ferne McCann and Phillip Schofield prove this pointless pair of pillocks to be utter plonkers and total disgraces.

Most Popular Artcles

Who REALLY is Omid Scobie?

An examination of the true character traits of the Duchess of Sussex’s PR peddling biased ‘bestie’ Omid Scobie by Nikolay Kalinin.

Justice for James Scurlock

Power of social media proven after senseless killing of James Scurlock in Omaha, Nebraska allegedly by a controversial bar owner named Jake Gardner who has been photographed with Donald Trump.

Moron of the Moment – Prince Harry

With his marriage to the woman formerly known as Meghan Markle, Prince Harry has morphed into an utter bore   Prince Harry used to be a...

Scobie Orf!

‘MeGain’s’ bestie Omid Scobie deservedly gets slammed by ‘Yankee Wally’ Sadie Quinlan for getting her shut down on Twitter; this childish chap should now just ‘belt up, wrap up and shut up.’