Tag Archives: history

Quote from “The Lost World of the London Coffeehouse”

Interior of a London Coffee-house, 17th century | Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Interior_of_a_London_Coffee-house,_17th_century.JPG

Interior of a London Coffee-house, 17th century | Source: wikipedia.org

On the social impact of coffeehouses

“Remember — until the mid-seventeenth century, most people in England were either slightly — or very — drunk all of the time. Drink London’s fetid river water at your own peril; most people wisely favoured watered-down ale or beer. The arrival of coffee, then, triggered a dawn of sobriety that laid the foundations for truly spectacular economic growth in the decades that followed as people thought clearly for the first time. The stock exchange, insurance industry, and auctioneering: all burst into life in 17th-century coffeehouses.”

A look inside a coffeehouse:

“As the image shows, 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, an alien concept in most coffee shops today, was actively encouraged.”

Change, openness and free exchange of information cause fear amongst the ruling class:

“Charles II, a longtime critic, tried to torpedo them by royal proclamation in 1675. 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.”

Source: “The Lost World of the London Coffeehouse” by Dr Matthew Green published on publicdomainreview.org

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4s9pdL7tpA

George Orwell – A life in Pictures: Very well written and produced. Love the humour and the details of this little masterpiece. I think one should not regard it as a documentary but more as an entertaining movie about a fascinating life. During the first 50 seconds Chris Langham does a fantastic job at introducing us to George Orwell. (via openculture)