Pretty Hampstead village has a great literary heritage and it all started here, this house hidden behind a brick wall somewhere in Hampstead Heath. Poet Leigh Hunt lived here and his friends John Keats and Percy Shelley would visit. Keats ended up moving to the area, and literary types have been keeping up the tradition ever since. Keats wrote his poem 'Sleep and Poetry' on a sofa here, where he used to sleep when he'd stay overnight. The house was chaotic, manuscripts strewn about and Hunt's children running from room to room, he called it his 'philosophy of cheer'. Bizarrely, scriptwriter Edgar Wallace lived here years later - the creator of King Kong!
This Soho boozer is called The Coffee House in reference to the fact that coffee was London's original social drink. London’s first coffee house opened in 1652. Proprieter Pasqua Rosee charged a penny for coffee and allowed punters to talk trade and do business.
It was the Portuguese bride of Charles II who arrived in England years later to change the national consciousness by saying something to effect of, ‘I could murder a nice cup of tea.’
Funnily enough, it’s all coming full circle now, as the number of pubs are dramatically on the decline, and coffee shops are on the up! Below is the site of London's original coffee house, notice the curved stone step weathered from centuries of footsteps!
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