Spiers & Pond was a company of caterers and hoteliers.
In 1851 Felix William Spiers sailed from London to Australia to join the gold rush. Once there he met fellow Englishman, Christopher Pond, and together they rented a room at the National Hotel in Melbourne, renaming it the Shakespeare Grill Room, to cater for the gold miners. The partnership was successful and the two men soon purchased the Café de Paris in Melbourne.
When Spiers and Pond teturned to London in 1863, they noticed as a consequence of their catering experience in Australia, that catering arrangements for railway passengers were very poor. The partners saw an opportunity for themselves and established a company to obtain contracts from railway companies to have cafés at railway stations to supply food to passengers.
Spiers & Pond’s first arrangement was with the London, Chatham & Dover Railway in 1864 to run all of the refreshment rooms on their line, as well as Charing Cross station on the South Eastern Railway when it opened. Rather than paying the railways a rent, Spiers & Pond would receive a percentage of the profits.
Unsurprisingly the refreshment rooms were a great success and consequently arrangements were made with the Great Northern Railway for the operation of a café at Kings Cross station, and with the Metropolitan Railway for the provision of services at all their stations. In the years that followed Spiers & Pond took over the operation of cafés all over Britain’s railways.
In 1874 Spiers & Pond built the Criterion Reataurant and Theatre in Piccadilly Circus, London. In 1882 the company was incorporated as Spiers & Pond Ltd. following the death of Christopher Pond the previous year.
The company opened the Gaiety Theatre Restaurant on The Strand in 1894. They also catered at Regents Park Zoo and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. The company went on to own 12 major hotels, including the Grand Hotel in Brighton.
In 1960 Spiers & Pond Ltd. was merged into the Express Dairy Co. which in turn was acquired by Grand Metropolitan Hotels in 1969.