On this day in 1664, according to the entry in his diary, Samuel Pepys “went to Mr Bland’s and there drank my morning’s draft in chocolate”. London’s first chocolate-house, in a Frenchman’s house in Queen’s Head Alley off Bishopsgate, had opened only shortly beforehand, in 1657. Chocolate was a considerable luxury in the mid 1600s, costing as much as 13s/lb (£50/lb in today’s terms, according to The National Archives invaluable “currency converter”). The chocolate- and coffee- houses of the time were places where rich and “respectable” types could meet, and also, importantly, transact business, without social stigma (unlike ale-houses). Thus it was that certain of the financial institutions of the City, for instance Lloyds of London, were initially founded (see also September 25th, 2013 posting, Coffee, Tea or Insurance).
The site of the first coffee-house in London, the “Pasqua Rosee’s Head”, is visited on our “Aldgate, Bishopsgate and beyond” standard walk, and on our “Tudor and Stuart London” and “Tudor and Stuart City Highlights” themed specials.
Further details of all our walks are available in the “Our Guided Walks” section of our web-site.