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!
Why actors say ‘Break a leg!’ Nice shot here onto the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Samuel Foote took over the running of the theatre in the 1700s, which was quite a risk because the theatre (then called the Little Theatre) didn’t have a theatre licence (the King granted licences, and he’d refused the Little Theatre as the previous owner had published controversial pamphlets).
Foote got round the problem by not charging people admission, making his money back by selling food and drink at the intervals. The Crown was furious and Foote was invited to the palace. Knowing that Foote had once boasted that he could ride any horse, he was given a horse to ride that had knowingly never been ridden before. He was thrown and badly injured, breaking his leg. The royals felt so guilty, Foote was granted a licence and from that year the Little Theatre became known as the Theatre Royal. Hence ‘Break a leg’ can be a good thing in the theatre world!
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