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The history of London in five drinks: A walking tour with Dr Matthew Green

Guardian Masterclasses

Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM (BST)

The history of London in five drinks: A walking tour...

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Ticket Type Sales End Price * Fee Quantity
The history of London in five drinks: A walking tour with Dr Matthew Green   more info Aug 9, 2019 £99.00 £5.11
* Prices include VAT

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Event Details

Explore London on foot and learn how coffee, wine, hot chocolate, ale and gin transformed the city at various points in history – drinks included, of course.

Join Dr Matthew Green on an immersive walking tour and learn how five drinks forged modern London. During the tour, you’ll stop for revitalising coffees, sample 18th-century luxury hot chocolate, drink medieval-style wine, and much, much more.

From the convivial coffeehouses of the 17th century to rowdy “mug-houses”, this whirlwind tour will give you a new perspective on the history of London.

Some of the key stops…
St Michael’s Churchyard, Cornhill

Site of London’s first coffeehouse, opened in 1652 by an eccentric Greek entrepreneur called Pasqua Rosée. Here, people huddled to sip their “bitter Mohammedan gruel”, which was stomach-churningly disgusting. Yet, it would transform the face of the city, bring people together and inspire brilliant ideas that would shape the modern world.

A lost City vineyard

Beginning at medieval Guildhall, we’ll travel back in time to give you a taste of everyday life in the medieval metropolis through the medium of wine. At Cleary Gardens by Huggin Hill, we’ll gurgle down some delicious medieval-style wine that would have been served in coconut shells and learn about the City’s lost vineyards.

Dr Johnson’s House, Gough Square

An exquisitely preserved timber-framed brick townhouse built at the end of the 17th century and occupied by the legendary Dr Johnson and his black cat Hodge, while he wrote his monumental Dictionary of the English Language. Within these stately surroundings, you will taste delicious baroque-style hot chocolate.

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, Fleet Street

One of the oldest taverns in London – and arguably the most atmospheric – this was Dr Johnson’s local public house, “a throne of human felicity”, in which he experienced “an oblivion of care and freedom from solicitude”. In its gloomy wooden interior, with ancient wooden panelling and the floor strewn with sawdust, we’ll drink a hearty pint and hear about the impact of ale and beer on London from the middle ages to the present day.

The City of London Distillery

The tour finishes up in The City of London Distillery, a gin distillery and bar which is over 200 years old. There we’ll drink gin and consider the chequered history of the juniper berry and its continued influence on London.

Please note venues may be subject to change and seating at all locations is not guaranteed. The ticket price includes servings of each of the five drinks, along with admission to the Dr Johnson's House. 

Tutor profile

Dr Matthew Green is the author of the acclaimed book London: A Travel Guide Through Time, which has been described by the Londonist as "easily the best social history of London for a decade". Matthew also writes historical features for the Guardian and the Financial Times, among others, and has featured in many TV documentaries. He’s the founder of Unreal City Audio, which produces immersive tours of historic London.

This event will be taking place outside and will involve some walking. If you are considering coming along and have limited mobility or other access requirements, please do email us to discuss your needs.

Full course and returns information on the Masterclasses website

Have questions about The history of London in five drinks: A walking tour with Dr Matthew Green? Contact Guardian Masterclasses

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When & Where


St Michael's Church
Cornhill
EC3V 9DS London
United Kingdom

Saturday, August 10, 2019 from 1:30 PM to 5:30 PM (BST)


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Guardian Masterclasses

Welcome to Guardian masterclasses – a unique programme of learning embedded within one of the world's most forward-thinking media organisations.

Masterclasses offer a broad range of short and long courses across a variety of disciplines from creative writing, journalism, photography and design, film and digital media, music and cultural appreciation.

Harnessing the expertise and specialisms within the organisation, our courses are led by first class and award winning guardian professionals whilst also drawing on the skills and expertise of other leading figures at the forefront of the creative and digital industries.

The programme is aimed at anyone interested in personal or professional development whether that be refining your skills, focusing your ambition or simply broadening your mind and gaining inspiration.

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