A Coffee Fuelled Revolution

by Helen Naylor

Monday 7 November 2022

You wouldn't expect to see a dolphin being dissected in Starbucks. But Issac Newton did this in a London coffee house.


In this talk Helen explores how the arrival of coffee in London in the mid-1600s triggered an age of sobriety that laid the foundations for a truly spectacular economic, scientific and artistic growth period. The stock exchange, insurance industry and auctioneering, all burst into life in 17th-century coffeehouses facilitating the dramatic expansion of Britain’s network of global trade. 


Coffeehouses favoured by political, medical and scientific men cemented the foundations of some of our greatest societies. Meanwhile, Covent Garden coffeehouses made a huge contribution to literature, theatre and formed the basis for still thriving institutions such as The Royal Society of Arts and charities such as the RSPCA.

Using paintings and engravings from the time, Helen will roll back the centuries to reveal the personalities and atmosphere in these vibrant places which even a Royal petition failed to close down.

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Helen has a PhD in Earth Sciences and worked in London as a geologist before becoming a qualified Westminster Tour Guide and Lecturer. She loves bringing London's social history to life, connecting the past in a quirky way to our modern lives and environment.Dr Helen Naylor

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