Diana Lawrenson

— Writer —

Diana Lawrenson Pages to Places Blog

Welcome to my blog that takes you from pages to places. Come and discover some quirky, little-known, or loose-but-relevant links from books to places around the world. You might even like to add a book suggestion of your own to the topic.

28 February 2017 | England, London, The Strand


Chinese tea setUntil reading Tea: the drink that changed the world by Laura C. Martin I drank tea every day and didn’t really think about it. But this book and others like it have opened my eyes to issues surrounding tea’s arrival in the West: the opium trade, smuggling, and the opening of the Suez Canal that enabled Britain to import tea much faster by steamship rather than relying on tea clippers that had to sail the long way round via the Cape of Good Hope.

Morning tea might be synonymous with morning coffee, but whoever heard of the term afternoon coffee, even though we might drink coffee then? Together with its more hearty rendition, high tea, afternoon tea can be found not only in Britain and some of her former colonies, but also in Chile and Argentina, too, adapted to those countries’ local customs.

Twinings tea entrance, LondonSo when walking along The StrandTwinings tea shop, London in London I came across Twining’s tea shop and museum opposite The Royal Courts of Justice, I had to go in. At its entrance is a mosaic Twinings on the pavement. Step between two pillars and inside you will find all manner of teas displayed in all manner of packaging, while portraits of long-departed Twinings who began the business gaze down from walls above the counter. A small museum is at the back of the shop, along with an area for classes that when I call in is set up for a pre-booked session on presenting afternoon tea. I don’t stay to determine if the champagne glasses are there for a welcome tipple or for part of the class.

I discover from books that what we call black tea the Chinese more accurately call red tea. Just as many flavours of Chrysanthemum tea boxblack tea exist, so too for the green teas of China and Japan. A few years ago I was given a beautifully packaged box of Longjing tea, translated as Dragon Well tea – a high quality Chinese green tea that comes in various grades. The tea has long gone but the box has found another use.Tea and reading

Now it’s time to boil the kettle, find the book I’m half way through, and sit down to indulge in two pleasures: tea and reading.





Tea, the drink that changed the World by Laura C. Martin

A Social History of Tea: tea’s influence on commerce, culture and commodity by Jane Pettigrew and Bruce Richardson

A Brief History of Tea by Ray Moxham

The Story of Tea: a cultural history and drinking guide by Mary Lou and Robert J. Heiss


  1. Another enjoyable blog post, Diana.

  2. After sharing tea with you yesterday, Diana I just loved reading this post. I can just imagine you with your feet up, cup of tea at hand, reading a novel. What a lovely way to spend time.

Would you like to suggest another relevant book to add to the list?

Your email address will not be published.