Tuesday 22nd November – 42nd meeting of 2016
We met up at Charing Cross and went to the Crypt for a coffee before walking up the Strand towards Somerset House where we stopped briefly to look at the Ice Rink which is now up and running with a few brave souls trying it out! It was a very cold day anyway.
We then continued up the Strand where opposite the Law Courts stands number 216 which is Twinings tea shop. It was founded by Thomas Twining a tea supplier to Queen Anne in 1706. It is still up and running as a business and could well be the oldest ratepayer to Westminster Council. In 1706 the area around was fashionable for coffee houses and chop houses.
It is a small fronted building and has a Neo-classical portico featuring two reclining Chinamen dating from a time when all the tea came from China. At the back of the shop is a small tea museum.
The front shop is lined with shelves on both sides filled with different teas, over 200 blends, some familiar but a lot of interesting mixtures. All these are for sale along with tea infusers, spoons, cups etc all equipment needed to make a cup of tea!
In the back there was a small display area with the history of the business from 1706 and also some examples of equipment used in the past.
We also could taste some of the teas as three examples were brewing at the counter – they were really nice! Also a small pot of the tea blend was alongside every different type of tea so you could smell the blends.
After a while we left Twinings and went along a couple of buildings to The George pub for lunch. This could well have been an old coffee house site originating around the same time as Twinings which was later turned into a tavern.
A nice meal of fish and chips was enjoyed by us all and then we made our way home after a really English morning of tea and fish and chips!