In Chelsea, a little coffee house named Don Saltero’s became known across London not only for its coffee but also for its weird and wonderful museum, or ‘Knackatory’. Its creator was James Salter, an Irish barber who called himself Don Saltero and had formerly served in the household of Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the British Museum.
The coffee-house museum became known as the ‘Knackatory’ due to its bizarre collection of exhibits, including a piece of Solomon’s temple, a curious piece of metal found in the ruins of Troy, an unusual flea-trap, a piece of Queen Catherine’s skin and manna from Canaan!
Salter opened his business in around 1695 near to today’s Lawrence Street, and by 1717 had permanently established his coffee house at 18 Cheyne Walk. The coffee house is recorded as early as 1705 and survived in a number of different guises for another 150 years. ~The Nation’s Memory Bank