Explain the function of the London coffeehouse as a locus for commercial and intellectual exchange in the eighteenth century.

Explain the function of the London coffeehouse as a locus for commercial and intellectual exchange in the eighteenth century.

Coffee Houses

Locus for commercial and intellectual exchange in the 17th and 18th centuries

Coffee Houses

Read the entry on Coffee Houses

What would you go to the following coffee houses to do?

Picket

Basset

Whites

Smyrna

St James’s

The Turk’s Head, Soho

Lloyd’s

Who would not frequent Cocoa Tree and Ozonda’s and the Coffee House of St James’s?

Find St Michael’s Alley

Essay/exam

History of Coffee House

Function of the London coffeehouse as a locus for commercial and intellectual exchange in the eighteenth century.

History of Coffee

9th/10th century – Etheopia – goats – people – then to Turkey, Venice and 1st in England, Oxford 1650 (university and cosmopolitan).

Then to London.

Read entry in reading. What would you go to the following coffee houses to do?

Picket

Basset

Whites

Smyrna

St James’s

The Turk’s Head, Soho

Lloyd’s

Describe a coffee house

Who would not frequent Cocoa Tree and Ozonda’s and the Coffee House of St James’s?

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A handbill published in 1652 to promote the launch of Pasqua Rosée’s coffeehouse telling people how to drink coffee and hailing it as the miracle cure for just about every ailment under the sun including dropsy, scurvy, gout, scrofula and even “mis-carryings in childbearing women”

History of the Coffee House

London’s coffee craze began in 1652

When Pasqua Rosée – Greek servant of a coffee-loving British Levant merchant Daniel Edwards, opened London’s first coffeehouse (or shack) against the stone wall of St Michael’s churchyard in an alleys off Cornhill.

Was a smash hit;

within a couple of years, Pasqua was selling over 600 dishes of coffee a day

Goats beans 9C Ethiopia – men ate – Constantinople, Turkey – then Venice, Paris, Oxford 1650 and London 1652.

What did it taste like? Old Turkish proverb “black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love”, and very gritty.

contemporaries found it disgustin.

One early sampler likened it to a “syrup of soot and the essence of old shoes” while others were reminded of oil, ink, soot, mud, damp and shit.

But people loved how it kindled conversations, fired debates, sparked ideas

and, as Pasqua himself pointed out in his handbill The Virtue of the Coffee Drink (1652), made one “fit for business”

— his stall was a stone’s throw from that great entrepôt of international commerce….. NEXT SLIDE

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The Royal Exchange and Exchange Alley

A map of Exchange Alley after it was razed to the ground in 1748, showing the sites of some of London’s most famous coffeehouses including Garraway’s and Jonathan’s

the Royal Exchange.

PRs coffee house was an inredible success and it triggered a coffeehouse boom.

Became super popular super quickly – By 1656, there was a second coffeehouse at the sign of the rainbow on Fleet Street;

by 1663, 82 had sprung up within the Roman walls,

and a cluster further west closer to the Court, like Will’s in Covent Garden, which became a fashionable literary coffee house where Samuel Pepys found his old college friend John Dryden presiding over “very pleasant and witty discourse” in 1664 and wished he could stay longer — but he had to pick up his wife

By the early 1700s there were 551 coffee houses in London – by far the most in Europe

In Protestant Amsterdam, a rival hub of international trade, there were only 32 coffeehouses by 1700 and the cluster of coffeehouses in St Mark’s Square in Venice were forbidden from seating more than five customers ( too avoid too much conversation amongst too many people which could be dangeroud) whereas North’s, in Cheapside, could happily seat 90 people.

And part of the reason whey they were so popular and so dangerous was because you stayed sober.

Most people were a bit drunk all of the time – you couldn’t drink water, and so most people drank watered-down ale or beer (“small beer”).

So coffee allowed sober drinking which triggered an age of sobriety that laid the foundations for truly spectacular economic growth in the decades that followed as people thought clearly for the first time.

So not drinking is important for business, economics and politics.

The stock exchange, insurance industry, and auctioneering all developed in 17th-century coffeehouses —

Jonathan’s – Change Alley– Stock Exchange

Lloyd’s – Lombard Street – Insurance

Garraway’s – also Change Alley auction room for land and property

And this spawned the credit, security, and markets that facilitated the dramatic expansion of Britain’s network of global trade in Asia, Africa and America and secured the financial fortunes of London.

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The earliest known image of a coffeehouse dated to 1674, showing the kind of coffeehouse familiar to Samuel Pepys

Controversial places

They were men only –

No respectable women would have been seen dead in a coffeehouse.

wives frustrated at the amount of time their husbands were spending in them

And in 1674  Women’s Petition Against Coffee published – quite angry

Women lambasted the “Excessive use of that Newfangled, Abominable, Heathenish Liquor called COFFEE” which, as they saw it, had reduced their virile industrious men into effeminate, babbling, French layabouts.

Retaliation was swift and acerbic in the form of the vulgar Men’s Answer to the Women’s Petition Against Coffee, which claimed it was “base adulterate wine” and “muddy ale” that made men impotent. Coffee, in fact, was the Viagra of the day, making “the erection more vigorous, the ejaculation more full, add[ing] a spiritual ascendency to the sperm”!

However – coffee also considered treasonous –

Because you had men discussing how to change the world, and unlike after a piss up = hangover – forget – in a coffee house they stayed sober, so they were linked with radical thoughts,

as Richard Steele wrote in the Tatler men would discuss “deposing princes, settling the bounds of kingdoms, and balancing the power of Europe with great justice and impartiality” all from the comfort of a fireside bench.

Traditionally, informed political debate had been the preserve of the social elite.

But in the coffeehouse it was anyone’s business — that is, anyone who could afford the measly one-penny entrance fee

which was anyone with surplus wealth — the 35 to 40 per cent of London’s 287,500-strong male population who qualified as ‘middle class’ in 1700

Charles suspected the coffeehouses were hotbeds of sedition and scandal but in the face of widespread opposition — articulated most forcefully in the coffeehouses themselves — the King was forced to cave in and recognise that as much as he disliked them, coffeehouses were now an intrinsic feature of urban life.

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Read the poem – what are the benefits of drinking coffee? Andrew Marvell whose ‘Dialogue between Two Horses’ (1676)

Though tyrants make laws, which they strictly proclaim, To conceal their own faults and to cover their shame, Yet the beasts in the field, and the stones in the wall, Will publish their faults and prophesy their fall; When they take from the people the freedom of words, They teach them the sooner to fall on their swords. Let the city drink coffee and quietly groan, – They who conquered the father won’t be slaves to the son. For wine and strong drink make tumults increase, Chocolate, tea, and coffee, are liquors of peace; No quarrels, or oaths are among those who drink’em ‘Tis Bacchus and the brewer swear, damn’em! And sink’em! Then Charles thy edict against coffee recall, There’s ten times more treason in brandy and ale.

Charles II, a longtime critic, tried to shut them down by royal proclamation in 1675.

Read the poem – what are the benefits of drinking coffee?

The coffee men found a willing ally in Andrew Marvell whose ‘Dialogue between Two Horses’ (1676) ridiculed Charles II and asserted that:

Though tyrants make laws, which they strictly proclaim, To conceal their own faults and to cover their shame, Yet the beasts in the field, and the stones in the wall, Will publish their faults and prophesy their fall; When they take from the people the freedom of words, They teach them the sooner to fall on their swords. Let the city drink coffee and quietly groan, – They who conquered the father won’t be slaves to the son. For wine and strong drink make tumults increase, Chocolate, tea, and coffee, are liquors of peace; No quarrels, or oaths are among those who drink’em ‘Tis Bacchus and the brewer swear, damn’em! And sink’em! Then Charles thy edict against coffee recall, There’s ten times more treason in brandy and ale.

However – coffee also considered treasonous –

Because you had men discussing how to change the world, and unlike after a piss up = hangover – forget – in a coffee house they stayed sober, so they were linked with radical thoughts….

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as Richard Steele wrote in the Tatler men would discuss “deposing princes, settling the bounds of kingdoms, and balancing the power of Europe with great justice and impartiality” all from the comfort of a fireside bench.

as Richard Steele wrote in the Tatler men would discuss “deposing princes, settling the bounds of kingdoms, and balancing the power of Europe with great justice and impartiality” all from the comfort of a fireside bench.

Traditionally, informed political debate had been the preserve of the social elite.

But in the coffeehouse it was anyone’s business

So long as you could afford the one-penny entrance fee

which was anyone with surplus wealth — about 35 to 40 per cent of London’s 287,500-strong male population who qualified as ‘middle class’ in 1700

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Hogarth’s depiction of Moll and Tom King’s coffee-shack from The Four Times of Day (1736). Though it is early morning, the night has only just begun for the drunken rakes and prostitutes spilling out of the coffeehouse

Don Saltero’s Chelsea coffeehouse had taxidermy monsters hanging on the walls, including crocodiles, turtles and rattlesnakes, which local gentlemen scientists like Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Hans Sloane liked to discuss over coffee;

at White’s on St James’s Street, rakes would gamble away entire estates and place bets on how long customers had to live, which would develop into the life insurance industry;

at Lunt’s in Clerkenwell Green, patrons could sip coffee, have a haircut and enjoy a fiery lecture on the abolition of slavery given by its barber-proprietor John Gale Jones;

at John Hogarth’s Latin Coffeehouse, also in Clerkenwell, patrons were encouraged to converse in the Latin tongue at all times (it didn’t last long);

at Moll King’s brothel-coffeehouse, depicted by Hogarth, libertines could sober up and peruse a directory of harlots, before being led to the requisite brothel nearby.

There was even a floating coffeehouse, the Folly of the Thames, moored outside Somerset House where fops and rakes would dance the night away.

Coffee houses would become known for their clientele, similar minded people would gather at a certain coffee house,

So here is a list of some – can you add any more from the reading

Don Saltero’s Chelsea coffeehouse had taxidermy monsters hanging on the walls, including crocodiles, turtles and rattlesnakes, which local gentlemen scientists like Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Hans Sloane liked to discuss over coffee;

at White’s on St James’s Street, famously depicted by Hogarth, rakes would gamble away entire estates and place bets on how long customers had to live, a practice that would eventually grow into the life insurance industry;

at Lunt’s in Clerkenwell Green, patrons could sip coffee, have a haircut and enjoy a fiery lecture on the abolition of slavery given by its barber-proprietor John Gale Jones;

at John Hogarth’s Latin Coffeehouse, also in Clerkenwell, patrons were encouraged to converse in the Latin tongue at all times (it didn’t last long);

at Moll King’s brothel-coffeehouse, depicted by Hogarth, libertines could sober up and peruse a directory of harlots, before being led to the requisite brothel nearby.

There was even a floating coffeehouse, the Folly of the Thames, moored outside Somerset House where fops and rakes would dance the night away.

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T

A small body-colour drawing of the interior of a London coffeehouse from c. 1705. Everything about this oozes warmth and welcome from the bubbling coffee cauldron right down to the flickering candles and kind eyes of the coffee drinkers

What were they like?

Early coffeehouses were all pretty similar insofar as they encouraged the interaction between customers and wanted to create a creative, convivial environment.

Read the account and look at the image – what can we deduce about coffee houses?

This small body-colour drawing shows an anonymous (and so, it’s safe to assume, fairly typical) coffeehouse from around 1700.

As you can see int his image, customers sat around long communal tables strewn with every type of media imaginable listening in to each other’s conversations, interjecting whenever they pleased, and reflecting upon the newspapers.

Talking to strangers was actively encouraged.

Dudley Ryder, a young law student from Hackney and social climber, kept a diary in 1715-16, in which tells us he often marched into a coffeehouse, sitting down next to a stranger, and discussing the latest news.

Private boxes and booths did begin to appear from the late 1740s but before that it was pretty much impossible to hold a genuinely private conversation in a coffeehouse

Places for news:

As each new customer went in, they’d be assailed by cries of “What news have you?”

coffeehouses were also post-boxes for many customers, which reinforced this news-gathering function.

And you just needed a little seed to start a big discussion – Dudley Ryder mentions one at John’s Coffee House in 1715, news came in about the execution of a rebel Jacobite Lord which developed into a discussion on “the ease of death by beheading” with one participant telling of an experiment he’d conducted slicing a viper in two and watching in amazement as both ends slithered off in different directions. Was this, as some of the company conjectured, proof of the existence of two consciousnesses?

And it seems they were socially inclusive spaces where lords sat next to fishmongers.

The Rules and Orders of the Coffee-House (1674) stated “Pre-eminence of place none here should mind, but take the next fit seat he can find”

And John Macky descripted noblemen and “private gentlemen” mingling together in the Covent Garden coffeehouses “and talking with the same Freedom, as if they had left their Quality and Degrees of Distance at Home.”

Importance of Coffee Houses

So they became forums for commercial transactions, spirited debate, and the exchange of information, ideas, and lies.

And the coffeehouse’s formula of maximised sociability, critical judgement, and relative sobriety proved a catalyst for creativity and innovation.

They encouraged political debate, along with the social inclusion, which paved the way for the expansion of the electorate in the 19th century.

The mixing of the classes may have led to more awareness of the condition of the London population which led to reforms in society,

They were known as Penny Universities because they provided an education for a penny, access to discussions, demonstrations and newspapers, which led to a more literate society

And the popularity of coffee would have helped with reforms around alcohol in the 1700s with Gin and temperance movements, popularity of museums, parks, etc in the 19th century.

The City coffeehouses spawned capitalist and trade innovations that shaped the modern world.

Other coffeehouses sparked scientific innovation, artistic innovation (Old Slaughter’s), literary innovation, and journalistic innovation and much more….

So they became forums for commercial transactions, spirited debate, and the exchange of information, ideas, and lies.

And the coffeehouse’s formula of maximised sociability, critical judgement, and relative sobriety proved a catalyst for creativity and innovation.

They encouraged political debate, along with the social inclusion, which paved the way for the expansion of the electorate in the 19th century.

The mixing of the classes may have led to more awareness of the condition of the London population which led to reforms in society,

They were known as Penny Universities because they provided an education for a penny, access to discussions, demonstrations and newspapers, which led to a more literate society

And the popularity of coffee would have helped with reforms around alcohol in the 1700s with Gin and temperance movements, popularity of museums, parks, etc in the 19th century.

The City coffeehouses spawned capitalist and trade innovations that shaped the modern world.

Other coffeehouses sparked scientific innovation, artistic innovation (Old Slaughter’s), literary innovation, and journalistic innovation and much more….

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