Felix William Spiers
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Spiers' family originated in Glasgow, Scotland in the very early 18th century. One of the family moved to France, where he dealt in tobacco. Later family members were born in Calais, Dunkerque, Boulogne, France and in England. After his death his wife, Constance Albertine Spiers, donated money to the town of Belle-Ile, an island off the coast of Britanny, for a lifeboat which was named after him. His father was Felix Theodore Benjamin Augustus Spiers, born at Calais, in 1797, a ship broker and merchant, agent in London for the Bristol General Steam Navigation Company.
Felix William sailed to Melbourne where he was a wine merchant, having acquired a publican's licence in 1857. He set up in business at George Coppin and Gustavus Brooke's Theatre Royal, Melbourne with George Hennelle, but Hennelle was badly injured by a falling Post Office wall in 1859 and replaced by Christopher Pond. Together they formed a partnership, Spiers and Pond, running the Café de Paris at the Theatre Royal, later buying the lease of the Café from Coppin and Brooke.
In 1861, they brought to Melbourne the All-England Eleven to play a series of cricket matches. Mementos of the tour are held in the MCC Museum at Lord's Cricket Ground at Marylebone, London. Pond suffered an accident in 1862, and in 1863 they both returned to London, where they were soon running the Holborn Viaduct Hotel at 15 Old Bailey. In 1874 they had built, and owned, the Criterion Theatre and Restaurant in London's Piccadilly Circus. The partnership became Spiers and Pond (Limited) in 1882, after the death of Pond in 1881.
They owned the London and Westminster Supply Association at New Bridge-street, Blackfriars, which supplied their restaurants, their extensive railway refreshment rooms, their many hotels and the general public. The company went into liquidation in 1916 and was taken into administration by the court until 1918, when it was reorganised to continue as Spiers and Pond (Limited). They owned twelve hotels, around twenty bars at London tube stations, and a golf course, Bushey Hall.
The hotels included Bailey's Hotel, Gloucester Road, London; the Grand Hotel, Brighton; the Queen's Hotel, Eastbourne; the Palace Hotel, Hastings; the Victoria Hotel; Manchester; the Grand Hotel, Scarborough; the Royal Clarence Hotel, Exeter; and the Bull's Head Hotel, Aylesbury. The company eventually became a part of Grand Metropolitan Hotels' portfolio.
- R. G. Spiers (2008) Spiers and Pond. Also private family history records.
- Stations et canots de sauvetage. Memoires du commandant Couraud, REMEMBER 1914–1920 Arch. Jouan et Arch. Dep. Mhan[clarification needed]
- Report of the Select Committee on Mr Hennelle's case, Melbourne, 26 March 1862
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