Good one Derek. Interesting that things seem to have gone in circles.
For me (as virtually a non-drinker) the changes in pubs over the last decade have been excellent. I can now go into a Pub almost anywhere and EXPECT that they will serve a decent cup of coffee or tea. Gallahers seems to be one of the few exceptions!!! And if I do not want coffee nobody these days gives you a funny look if you ask for a pint of lime & soda.
Add to that the lack of smoking and I can actually enjoy a Pub visit these days.
Back to your Coffee Shop theme - I think I am correct in saying that a different sort of coffee shop abounded back in the late 1600s-and through the 1700s. Those places did also sell alcoholic drink and not all were "reputable". However, that indeed was where in 1689 a group of gents banded together to discuss shipping movements and cargoes - leading to the formation of Lloyds of London.
5 Precepts of Buddhism seem appropriate. Refrain from taking life. Refrain from taking that which is not given. Refrain from misconduct. Refrain from lying. Refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness
Coffee taverns, coffee houses and cocoa rooms were an integral feature of the 19th century Temperance Movement, which originated in America in the 1820s, and were designed to tempt the working man away from the evils of the "demon drink", by offering him an alternative place where he could go to eat, drink and socialise with his workmates. Some of the best-known ones were those set up by the British Workman Public House Co Ltd, which by 1879 had no less than 33 such houses in Liverpool. These temperance "pubs" were often deliberately designed to look and feel like conventional pubs (some were even in converted pubs that had closed), but they served only coffee, tea, cocoa and other non-alcoholic beverages such as Messrs Cox and Co's "Anti-Burton" Hop Bitters, Invalid Stout and non-alcoholic wines, together with cheap food to try and attract in the punters. As appears to be the case here, some of these temperence establishments were also deliberately sited next door to existing pubs, to try and further tempt the poor, ill-educated labouring classes from patronising the "den of iniquity" next door! More information on temperance pubs can be found in this article in the Journal of the Brewery History Society Temperance Pubs.
I've got a metal token somewhere from the Cocoa Rooms, Birkenhead. It says something like: British Workman Public House Company and I think the Cocoa Rooms were in Market Street. I've no idea of the date of the token, but I'll try to find it and post a picture.
I've finally unearthed the Birkenhead Cocoa Rooms token I spoke about on this thread back in May. It's 29mm across (just slightly bigger than a 2p piece) and the inscription is: 'Cocoa Rooms Birkenhead, British Workman Public House Company Limited'. On the reverse is the figure one. I've scanned it, but I'm not sure how clear it'll turn out.
I've been trying to locate some of these long-vanished cocoa rooms in Birkenhead by googling and have found mention on genealogy websites of there being one in Chester Street and one in Price Street.
And in a 1901 notice in the London Gazette, there is a report of a meeting being held in the Cocoa Rooms, Shore Road, Birkenhead - which is down by the docks and possibly the one Joney remembers. I also think there may have been one in Market Street.
My 1894 Kelly's Directory lists the following coffee houses and cocoa rooms in Birkenhead: 24 Abbey St, 45 Bidston Rd, 41 Borough Road, 152 Chester St, 207 Cleveland St, 161 & 292 Conway St, 93 Hamilton St, 55 Ivy St, 7/9 & 28 Market St, and 181 & 360 Price St. Oddly, the listing for the British Workman Public House ones doesn't include any in Birkenhead at that date, so presumably your token dates from either earlier or later than 1894.
Thanks for that really interesting information, Marty and Bert. I'm surprised to see just how common cocoa rooms, coffee taverns and various temperance places were around that time and they must have been well patronised. However, there were almost certainly many more pubs in the town and the demon drink seems to have won out in the end. But, as Snodvan said earlier in this thread, it's good that nowadays you can go into a Pub and not feel obliged to order a pint - something that would have been unthinkable in my misspent youth.
Thanks to a reminder from Pinzgauer, here's a screenshot from streetview of the library at Overton-on-Dee. The resolution doesn't allow you to read it, but the terracotta lettering between the windows reads "COCOA & READING ROOMS" as you can see in the cropped pictures.
It would seem that the British Workman Public House Company Limited was a national business. Here's a token I found on a Shrewsbury Museums website. It also seems that the use of tokens in pubs was widespread. Here's a link to the same website. http://www.darwincountry.org/explore/022362.html