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Make the most of your visit while attending this event and take a tour of Dove Cottage and gardens.

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'We all drank tea...! Such piles of toast! Tea and coffee!'

Dove Cottage & Garden

19 December 2017
11.00am - 12.00pm

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We are very privileged to be able to use the houseplace of Dove Cottage as the Wordsworth family did – as a place to share a cup of tea and slices of toast together, accompanied by lively conversation and an opportunity to learn something new. There are twelve Dove Cottage Tuesdays talks this winter, six in December and six in February, and each discussion will be led by Wordsworth Trust staff on a topic of their choice. This morning, Collections Trainee Poppy Garrett will tell us more about the rising popularity of tea and coffee in Wordsworth's time. 

‘We all drank tea… Such piles of toast! tea and coffee!’ (Dorothy Wordsworth, in a letter to Mrs. Clarkson, 1st June 1804).

The dawn of the nineteenth century saw the popularisation of tea and coffee in Britain, when what started out as the privilege of the wealthy elite became available to the masses. Both the tea-table and the coffee-house were considered subversive spaces; places where women could gossip freely, and men could discuss radical politics or trade lewd jokes. The commodities themselves were likewise regarded with apprehension - hailing from China and the Middle-East, rumours abounded about the proposed health ‘benefits’ associated with tea and coffee consumption. Was tea really ‘a weaker kind of laudanum’? Why did Dorothy buy hers from Twinings? Could coffee actually cure menstrual cramps, or prevent you from catching the plague?

Cost: £7 (including tea and coffee)

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