Tea and the Tower

Tower of London

The Tower of London is the number one paid-for tourist attraction in London – about two and a half million people visit every year. Mr. Tea and I have often been a part of those numbers over the years. We both like history, especially Royal history, and always enjoy a trip to the Tower. Having our heads intact when we leave is an added bonus.

 

Archer sculpture, Tower of London

You can easily spend an entire day at the Tower of London (Top Ten Things To See and Do at the Tower of London). I especially enjoy viewing the Crown Jewels; stunning doesn’t even begin to describe their beauty. My favourite thing at the Tower of London is the prisoner graffiti in the Inner and Outer Ward Towers (many prisoners carved graffiti into the walls during the 1530s-1670s).

 

The Bloody Tower, Tower of London

With such a gruesome, violent history, you wouldn’t think that the Tower of London could have any type of connection with something as gentle and gracious as tea. But it does.

In the late 19th century, the area surrounding the Tower of London (Tower Hill), was bleak and boring. Although the Tower was a tourist attraction, facilities for those tourists were rare. Influenced by its nearness to the docks, the neighbourhood was dominated by oppressive Victorian offices and warehouses.  One of those was the unsightly Mazawattee Tea warehouse.

 

From the Tea on Tower Hill Information Panel, Tower of London

Mazawattee Tea was, at that time, one of the most important and most advertised tea firms in England. Its owners were making a small fortune in the tea industry. Their thriving offices and warehouses and vaults were located in a large building at the top of Tower Hill. The building was so tall that it blocked all the good views of the Tower – including views from All Hallows church, its next door neighbour. The vicar was not amused. A Tower Hill “improvement plan” was hatched. (Can you see where this is going?)

To make a long story short, the idea was to purchase and demolish the worst eyesores and generally give the area a good tidy up. A charitable trust was formed and monies raised. Improvements were gradual, and then the war intervened. During the blitz, many of the target properties purchased by the trust, yet still standing, were damaged – including the Mazawattee Tea warehouse.

 

Tower Vaults, Tower of London

By 1951, the entire Mazawattee Tea warehouse had finally been destroyed – but its vaults remained. Today, they are known as the Tower Vaults shops.  If you have ever visited the Tower of London and done a bit of shopping at Tower Vaults, you have consequently been “inside” the historic Mazawattee Tea warehouse.

 

From the Tea on Tower Hill Information Panel, Tower of London

 

Tea and the Tower – an astonishing blend.

 

 



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Comments

  1. I love visiting the Tower of London. That wasn’t said very often in the distant past! : ) I never knew about the tea warehouse, though. Now I have to go back and check that out! Thanks, Denise, for a most informative post!

    • Debs, I didn’t know about it either and had been to the Tower on several occasions. Then, the last time we were there, Mr. Tea happened to notice the Information Panel with the Mazawattee story on it (outside the Tower).

  2. An interesting post! Thanks for sharing.

    Blessings,
    Sandi

  3. I am definitely putting this on my list to visit. Nice bit of history there too.

    • So, like our Pat, you have a list, too, Marilyn? Grin I am sure you would enjoy the Tower, especially the tours led by the Beefeaters. They are very entertaining!

  4. Visited there in 2010. Had my first cream tea in the cafe at the Tower! Love that graffiti tower, too. So interesting!

  5. Fascinating piece! In common with many Londoners, I have, to my shame, not visited the Tower since I was a child..I must rectify that, and take in a bit of the history tea at same time.

    • Thank you Kitty. I was amazed to find a tea connection. I love it when things like that happen! Hope you make it back to the Tower. You can also then report to us on their cafe cuppa. 🙂

  6. Thanks for an educational post! I just love the crown jewels, especially Queen Victoria’s tiny crown. Too bad they don’t sell replicas!

    • Hi Barbara, Nice to hear from you again. I could look at the Crown Jewels forever – every time we go I just keep riding around and around and around the moving walkway. LOL

  7. Now that is a really interesting piece of tea and tower history and one I had no idea about. I’ve only visited the tower once and that was when I was a child, err, quite a long time ago.

    • Glad you enjoyed the post, and thanks for your comment. The next time you pop in, though, please bring chocolate. It’s not like you don’t know where to find any. LOL 🙂

  8. We DID spent an entire, rainy day in May at the Tower. Did not know abouT the vaults though. Fascinating and a wonderful tea connection. I too loved the graffitti and I always had to touch the oldest walls where ever I could. If those walls could talk….the tales they could tell!

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