Enfilade

Walking Tour of London’s Coffehouses

Posted in on site by Editor on July 20, 2012

From Unreal City Audio:

Tour of London’s Coffeehouses with Matthew Green
Unreal City Audio: London Walking Tours, Next tour is 28 July 2012

Join actors, musicians, and Dr Matthew Green for a caffeinated tour of London’s original – and best – coffeehouses: from the City’s warren of medieval streets, through St Paul’s Churchyard, down historic Fleet Street, and into the cobbled courtyards of the Temple. Free shots of black and gritty coffee, brewed after the 18th-century fashion, included.

The streets of London are awash with chain coffee shops. But they are a dismal incarnation of London’s historic coffee culture: a heady brew of wit, wisdom, innovation…and crucified crocodiles.

London’s love affair with coffee can be traced back 350 years to a muddy churchyard in the heart of the City of London. Dr Green will meet you in this churchyard for it was here, in 1652, that a Greek visionary with a twirly moustache and shocking English accent first sold a foul-looking liquid to the public. Coffee would transform the face of the metropolis forever, spawning more than 3,000 coffeehouses, triggering a media boom, scientific discoveries, literary excellence, freedom of speech, dolphin dissections, and imperial triumphs.  It was coffee, not tea, that built the British Empire.

Learn about the meteoric rise of the coffeehouses in the 17th century as you weave past their original sites on Cornhill, Cheapside, St Paul’s and Fleet Street; jolt as actors in period costume leap out performing real debates that raged around their candlelit tables hundreds of years ago; hear Dr Green tell stories of the kaleidoscopic activities that went on inside their walls: from dolphin dissections at the Grecian Coffeehouse to lethal duels over Latin grammar at Tom’s; from slave auctions at Garraway’s to ventriloquism and viper decapitations at John’s.

Marvel at a world where you could begin a conversation with anyone you liked simply by asking for the latest news; feel a tinge of nostalgia for this lost world of social conviviality as you gaze through the windows of the cloned coffeehouses that have usurped the City.

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The route (from a previous tour) is available here»