What could be more British than a nice cup of tea?
The Culture Concierge has curated a brand new look at the history of tea and coffee in London, with a leisurely and informative walk stretching from St Katherine’s Dock to the Royal Exchange, led by our expert guide.
In times of crisis, sickness, and tragedy, the first thing we do is put the kettle on. Never mind that there may have been bombs dropping, and fires raging, a nice cup of tea solved everything. And yet behind this simple beverage lies stories of derring-do, adventure and excitement on an epic scale. Our City walk celebrates the humble camellia sinensis plant from which our extraordinary variety of teas emanates. Tea was at the heart of the founding of the British Empire; fuelling our global trade, culture, behaviours, and etiquette. And London was, for many years, the epicentre of an expanding trade which changed our British lives forever!
The walk focuses on the oldest part of London, the City, which grew from the trade coming into the Pool of London. Ships travelled across the globe for weeks to bring the first pickings to the British public. In a time before instant communication, people held their breath waiting for the ships to return from their perilous journeys, in what became an annual race with financial benefits for the winner. Fortunes were won and lost on the turn of the wind. And, of course, our story would not be complete without the history of the goliath that was the East India Company and the pioneers who, by risking life and limb, sought to bring tea to our shores.
In just a small area surrounding the Tower of London flourished the warehousing and auction houses from which tea was distributed far and wide across the country and beyond. The City still holds some of the magic of those past times, which we’ll be exploring. And through the stories of those involved and the sites of the most significant importance, we’ll be conjuring up the atmosphere of the time when the tea trade was king.