This from Wikipedia…
English coffeehouses in the 17th and 18th centuries were public social places where men would meet for conversation and commerce. For the price of a penny, customers purchased a cup of coffee and admission. Travellers introduced coffee as a beverage to England during the mid-17th century; previously it had been consumed mainly for its supposed medicinal properties. Coffeehouses also served tea and chocolate.
The historian Brian Cowan describes English coffeehouses as “places where people gathered to drink coffee, learn the news of the day, and perhaps to meet with other local residents and discuss matters of mutual concern.” The absence of alcohol created an atmosphere in which it was possible to engage in more serious conversation than in an alehouse. Coffeehouses also played an important role in the development of financial markets and newspapers.
Today the consumption of coffee in the UK is second only to the ubiquitous tea. The UK is the third largest consumer of tea worldwide whereas here in the UK we don’t even figure in the top 20 consumers of coffee.
Looking at our high streets you would find that hard to believe with the average small town having many coffee shops ranging from large chain to the small boutique shops.
Here in Lincoln, a small English City of some 90,000 souls, we are no exception, and I confess I spend too much time and money in these establishments, just like many others I suspect.
Here’s Part 1 of a set of pictures taken over the years inside and outside the coffee shops I’ve visited.