9 Annotations

First Reading

Mary  •  Link

Coffe was just beginning to become known in England and the first coffee house was opened in London in 1652. It was still very much a luxury drink at this stage, but why anyone bothered to drink it at all must be wondered at if you read the recipe quoted by Liza Picard in 'Restoration London': it must have snarled as it came out of the pot.

Emilio  •  Link

(Here's an annotation I originally posted under Will's in Coffee Houses, but as it's as likely to be seen here . . .)
This is a link to Macaulay's description of the coffee house as a London institution. He's writing about 1685, but what he says should apply equally to 25 years before.
The most interesting bit is what he has to say about the importance of the coffee house amid the political uncertainty of the 17th century:

"The coffee house must not be dismissed with a cursory mention. It might indeed at that time have been not improperly called a most important political institution. No Parliament had sat for years. The municipal council of the City had ceased to speak the sense of the citizens. Public meetings, harangues, resolutions, and the rest of the modern machinery of agitation had not yet come into fashion. Nothing resembling the modern newspaper existed. In such circumstances the coffee houses were the chief organs through which the public opinion of the metropolis vented itself.
The first of these establishments had been set up by a Turkey merchant, who had acquired among the Mahometans a taste for their favourite beverage. The convenience of being able to make appointments in any part of the town, and of being able to pass evenings socially at a very small charge, was so great that the fashion spread fast. Every man of the upper or middle class went daily to his coffee house to learn the news and to discuss it. Every coffee house had one or more orators to whose eloquence the crowd listened with admiration, and who soon became, what the journalists of our time have been called, a fourth Estate of the realm. The Court had long seen with uneasiness the growth of this new power in the state. An attempt had been made, during Danby's administration, to close the coffee houses. But men of all parties missed their usual places of resort so much that there was an universal outcry. The government did not venture, in opposition to a feeling so strong and general, to enforce a regulation of which the legality might well be questioned."

Susanna  •  Link

Here's an interesting website on the history of London's coffee houses, with descriptions of some of their specific clienteles (in the decades after the diary, for example, the Tories would meet at the Cocoa-Tree, and the Whigs at the St. James, both in Westminster, the home of many a politically-oriented coffee house):


The coffee house was an important new cultural institution of the English Enlightenment that was being born as Pepys was writing his diary.

matthew  •  Link

In 1663 there were 82 coffee houses in london.

Bradford  •  Link

Coffee houses: 2 recent books.

Brian Cowan, "The Social Life of Coffee: The Emergence of the British Coffee House." Yale UP, January 2006, 364pp.

Markman Ellis, "The Coffee House: A Cultural History." Phoenix, November 2005, 304 pp. [Now in pb in the UK, one assumes, at L8.99.]

Given the general interest in this topic, thought these worth mentioning, though Steven Shapin, reviewing both in the 20 April 2006 "London Review of Books," does not mention Pepys. But one would be surprised if he's absent from their indexes.

Bradford  •  Link

A new entry in the ODNB, pursuant to Mary's mention above, for them as has access:

"Sicilian-born servant PASQUA ROSEE opened London's first coffee-house in Cornhill in 1652."

cumgranosalis  •  Link

Another claim to the first use of the bean in England: Balliol Oxford has a claim that it had the first sinner to drink Coffee, and was sent down for his crime of stimulating his cramming.
It Be Nathaniel Conopius who did brew his own caffeine in 1648, and did corrupt other inmates.
Then a Publick Coffee house opened in 1651 by one Jacob the Jew which be recorded in the Life and Times of Anthony a Wood:

quote " This year [1651] Jacob the Jew opened a coffey house at the Angel in the parish of S. Peter, in the East Oxon ; and there it was by some, who delighted in noveltie, drank. When he left Oxon[,] he sold it [coffe] in Old Southampton buildings in Holborne neare London, and was living in 1671.
cleaved from Newton's Apple by Peter Aughton.

Steve Mashburn  •  Link

Lloyd's Coffeehouse, of course, is the most famous London coffee house, giving birth to both Lloyd's of London and Lloyd's Register.

I descend from Edward Mashborne, who was the stepson of Elizabeth Nash Mashborne. Elizabeth became Lloyd's second wife in 1698 -- about the time Edward Mashborne left for America where he operated a school on the frontier between Virginia and North Carolina.

In 1713 Mashborne guided Rev. Giles Rainsford from Virginia to his new parish in North Carolina. Interestngly, Rainsford was the grandson of the mayor of Dublin who also owned a brewery that later became famous as Guinness.

I find it a little funny that two of the foremost UK businesses of today were intertwined in the swamps of North Carolina 300 years ago.

I would welcome correspondence with anyone with an interest in Lloyd's Coffeehouse of this time period.

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Chart showing the number of references in each month of the diary’s entries.