Thomas Twining moved with his family from Gloucester to London in 1684 when he was nine years old. After serving an apprenticeship as a weaver in the City of London, Twining worked for East India Company merchant Thomas D'Aeth, and became a tea merchant.
Twining purchased Tom's Coffee Shop in Devereux Court, off the Strand, in 1706, and sold tea to customers alongside coffee. He also sold dry tea to other nearby coffee shops, such as the Grecian Coffee House - now the site of The Devereux public house - and George's Coffee House across Devereux Court, and to retail customers to brew and consume at home. Tea was then an expensive luxury product, and the shop was quickly successful.
Twining expanded into adjacent premises on the Strand, and by 1717 was trading at 216 Strand, at the sign of the Golden Lyon. The business remains at the same premises 300 years later. The classical door case is surmounted by a pediment with a statue of a golden lion, and two figures of Chinese men, referring to the origin of the beverage. The business expanded in 1825 to include a bank, which financed tea trading, and operated from 215 Strand from 1835 until it merged with Lloyds Bank in 1892.
The tea business became known as "R. Twining" after Robert Twining took over in 1771. Twinings received a Royal Warrant from Queen Victoria in 1837, which is displayed at the museum, along with vintage tea caddies, examples of Twinings packaging, and other tea memorabilia and ephemera. The museum also charts the history of the Twinings family.
The business is now owned by Associated British Foods.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Twinings Strand Heritage Shop.|
- History of Twinings, twinings.co.uk
- The Strand - Britains Original Tea Room, twinings.co.uk
- Twinings, hidden-london.com
- Walter Thornbury, "The Strand (southern tributaries)", in Old and New London: Volume 3 (London, 1878), pp. 63-84. British History Online
- Twinings Bank, British Banking History Socirty
- Twinings website
- "Twinings 216 Strand London". Twinings. 2010. Archived from the original on 20 March 2012.
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