|The Whistling Oyster|
The Whistling Oyster, a small tavern and refreshment rooms popular with artists, was first established in 1825 in a narrow court called Vinegar Yard near Drury Lane. Its sign, painted on the large gas lamp over the door, as we can see, was a weirdly and grotesquely comical representation of a gigantic oyster whistling a tune, and with an intensely humorous twinkle beaming in its eye.
So how did the tavern get its strange name? The Daily Telegraph reported that in about 1840 the proprietor of the place, which had a great name for the excellence of the oysters it served, heard a strange and unusual sound from one of the tubs in which the shellfish lay piled in layers one over the other, placidly feeding on oatmeal, and awaiting the inevitable advent of the remorseless knife. Mr Pearkes, the landlord, listened, hardly believing his ears. But there was no doubt about it. One of the oysters was distinctly whistling! It was not difficult to find this phenomenal bivalve, and he was put by himself in a spacious tub with a bountiful supply of brine and meal.