Empire in a Cup: A Historic Tea Walking Tour

14 Jun 2024 · 1:00PM - 4:00PM
£25 (15 places)
The Goldsmiths’ Centre, London EC1M 5AD
Programme type
Tours, Talks, Exhibitions and Showcases
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Join City of London guide, Lisa Honan CBE, on a walking tour through the streets of London exploring the cultural and historical impact of the tea trade in Britain and beyond.

Starting at the Goldsmiths’ Centre where there will be the opportunity to view the exhibition, The Craft of Tea: 1660-2024, examining the material history of tea from 1660 to today. The group will walk to Bank Station to meet Lisa. From here the walk will visit the sites of where tea auctions were held, tea was stored and brands such as, Tetley and Brooke Bond operated from. You will hear about tea clipper races and the expansion of tea growing in India. Learn how tea turned into a national and global obsession and discover how tea drove the East India Company to partake in drug smuggling and sparked the American War of Independence.

The walk will last 2.5 hours, with a limited number of opportunities to sit down.

It will conclude near Tower Hill tube station (on the District and Circle Line) where there are various refreshment options. It is recommended that attendees bring a bottle of water. For safety reasons people attending this walk must be at least sixteen years old. The tour is limited to fifteen people.

Image credit: Richard Collins, The Tea Party, 1727. Courtesy The Goldsmiths' Company, London.

Who is the Tour Guide?

Lisa Honan CBE began her career in development, living, working and travelling in countries including Kenya, Thailand and Nepal. Now, she is a qualified City of London guide, fascinated by London’s Square Mile, its history, and in particular the links between the City and Britain’s Empire. She spent over a year researching her first walk about the East India Company, and the same time again to produce her second walk about the history of tea.

During Lisa’s diplomatic career, one of her roles (between 2016-2019) was as the Governor of St Helena, Ascension Island, and Tristan da Cunha.  She was the first (and so far only) woman to hold this post in five hundred years of St Helena’s history. For nearly two hundred years St Helena was run by the East India Company, which was the motivation for both of Lisa’s walks.