We could make a quick timeline of Brown’s: its foundation in 1832; the golden age under the James John Ford and his sons after 1860; the expansion into Albemarle Street in 1886; the end of family ownership in 1948; the purchase by Rocco Forte in 2003; and the grand reopening in 2005. But history is much more fun than just a list of dates.
Legends are like limpets. The task of history, therefore, is scrubbing the hull clean to reveal a story more interesting and deeper than first thought. And what a story it is, populated by such a diverse cast of characters: royalty and rulers, lords and ladies, politicians and presidents, diplomats and bureaucrats, heroes and heroines, writers and publishers, con artists and crooks, spies and war criminals, actors and journalists, bartenders and waiters, friends and foes, members of the armed forces, doctors, religious leaders, entrepreneurs, explorers, businesspeople, inventors, scientists and newly-weds. Here are some of their stories.