Borgen in Westminster

Recently the City of Westminster Archives Centre hosted a Danish film crew recording an episode of Ved du hvem du er? – the Danish version of Who Do You Think You Are? It featured Danish celebrity chefs, brothers Adam and James Price. The brothers appear in a popular show titled Eating with the Prices (Spise med Price) and their latest Copenhagen restaurant opened in The Glass House, Tivoli earlier this month.

Celebrity cheffing is not their only activity – James Price is a popular composer and conductor and Adam Price is also the writer and producer of the successful political thriller Borgen!

Adrian shows James & Adam Price a portrait of their ancestor Thomas Price

During the recording Adrian Autton, Archives Manager told them the story of their ancestor Thomas Price (their four times great-grandfather). In the 18th Century he ran the Farthing Pie House (now the Green Man Public House) at the junction of Marylebone Road and Euston Road.

The Farthing Pie House was famous for tasty mutton pies and attracted custom from across London. The poet William Blake describes the pub as a place that he walked to as a young man and Henry Carey wrote a song about a girl who visited the pub and enjoyed “a collection of cheesecakes, gammon of bacon, stuffed beef and bottled ale”. Clearly food and music are a long standing family tradition as Thomas Price is recorded as being a noteable player of the salt box*.

View of the Farthing Pie House in 1724 by Thomas Hosmer Shepherd.  Image property of Westminster City Archives.

Thomas Price’s son, John Price trained horses at Dobney’s Pleasure Gardens between 1767 and 1771 and travelled Europe with performing shows, along with his son James Price… who then settled in Denmark.

To discover more about your own ancestors and where they lived come along to the Archives Centre, where you can search a wide range of sources relating to the City of Westminster, including parish registers, poor law and settlement records, census returns, London directories, maps plans, photographs and prints.

[Adrian]

* A salt box was a simple but slightly bizarre-sounding instrument, its method of playing described in Oxford Music Online (log in with your library card number) as follows: ‘The lid was flapped up and down and the side battered with a rolling‐pin’ – another cookery connection!

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