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London Coffeehouse Walk & Talk

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 to the gleaming steps of St Paul's, witness how the coffee bean transformed London and inspired brilliant ideas that shaped the modern world. The stock market, freedom of speech, scientific breakthroughs, professional journalism, auctioneering: all coalesced in smoky, candlelit coffeehouses.

Free shots of oily, viscous, black and gritty coffee, brewed after the 18th-century fashion, included alongside specially reconstructed pomander balls to ward off the Plague.

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, and paving the way for Britain’s literary, scientific, and imperial supremacy.

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.


Dr Matthew Green | talks | www


Date and Time:

16 June 2012 at 3:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



St Michael's Church Cornhill
St Michael's Church, Cornhill
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Organised by:

Unreal City Audio
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