Bunhill: Whither Wiltons?

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THERE was a frisson of panic last week among the aficionados of Wiltons, the exclusive West End oyster restaurant patronised by the great and the good and their awesome expense accounts, following the recent demise of Jocelyn Hambro, its owner. Would the three Hambro sons - Rupert, Richard and James - sell it to mass-caterers who would inevitably ruin it? Or would they leave it as it has always been, with its matronly waitresses and excellent food?

Wiltons came to the Hambros (of banking fame) during an air raid one evening in 1942. Olaf, Jocelyn's father, was eating dinner there when a bomb dropped on nearby St James's Church, jangling the nerves of the restaurant's owner, Mrs Bessie Leal. She expressed a desire to be rid of Wiltons so she could leave London. 'Put it on my bill,' said Olaf, hardly pausing from his oysters. His bill came to pounds 1,200.

The Hambros, by the way, have no plans whatsoever to sell Wiltons.