A Social History of Tea
Jane Pettigrew
The National Trust

Every afternoon at 3pm, I have a cup of tea. It doesn’t matter the weather or the season, if it’s hot I’ll have it iced, but every afternoon, barring some great calamity, I take a break from my day to have a cup of tea and something sweet.

Tea is one of those things that we sort of take for granted; less popular than coffee, it’s still typical in many homes, particularly in Eastern Canada where I’m from originally. There, harsh orange pekoe tea can sit and stew for hours, with a couple more bags and a top up of water the only acknowledgement that the pot might need dumping or cleaning.

Jane Pettigrew is one of the UK’s tea experts, having run a tea shop for many years and written a number of other books on the subject .

A Social History of Tea traces the importance of tea to Britain from the seventeenth century onward, exploring its arrival in England, its origins and the politics surrounding the commodity. Pettigrew looks at how tea became popular, first with the upper classes, then with the middle classes and the poor.

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