“We twine to the right and they twine to the left.”*

Image: “Twinings Tea, 216 The Strand. The classical door case is surmounted by a pediment with a statue of a golden lion, and two figures of Chinese men who signify the origin of the beverage.”

*from “Misalliance”, by singer Michael Flanders (1922–1975) and composer and pianist Donald Swann (1923–1994).


From: Old and New London: Volume 3. Originally published by Cassell, Petter & Galpin, London, 1878:

“…Adjoining the above house, and opposite to the spot where formerly stood Butcher’s Row, are the banking-house and tea-warehouse of Messrs. Twining and Co. The latter was founded about the year 1710 by the great-great-grandfather of the present partners, Mr. Thomas Twining, whose portrait, painted by Hogarth, “Kit-cat size,” hangs in the back parlour of the establishment. The house, or houses—for they really are two, though made one practically by internal communication—stand between the Strand and the east side of Devereux Court. The original depôt for the sale of the then scarce and fashionable beverage, tea, stood at the south-west angle of the present premises, on the site of what had been “Tom’s Coffee House,” directly opposite the “Grecian.” A peep into the old books of the firm shows that in the reign of Queen Anne tea was sold by the few houses then in the trade at various prices between twenty and thirty shillings per pound, and that ladies of fashion used to flock to Messrs. Twining’s house in Devereux Court, in order to sip the enlivening beverage in very small china cups, for which they paid their shillings, much as nowa-days they sit in their carriages eating ices at the door of Gunter’s in Berkeley Square on hot days in June. The bank was gradually engrafted by Messrs. Twining on the old business, after it had been carried on for more than a century from sire to son, and may be said, as a separate institution, to date from the commercial panic of 1825. It is, perhaps, worthy of note that a member of this family, which has been so long and so honourably connected with commerce, was that elegant and accomplished scholar, the Rev. Thomas Twining, the translator of Aristotle’s “Poetics” in the days of our grandfathers.”

From Wikipedia and the website of the Twickenham Museum:

“Thomas Twining (1675, Painswick, Gloucestershire – 1741, Twickenham, Middlesex) was an English merchant, and the founder of the tea merchant Twinings of London.

In about 1722, Twining bought a property later known as Dial House, next door to St Mary’s Church, Twickenham, where he either rebuilt or converted and extended the buildings already there. The sundial on the façade is dated 1726, which is possibly the year in which the new building was finished.

In 1741 Thomas Twining died, and was buried at St Mary’s Church, where there is a memorial to him, at the north-east corner. Twining’s son Daniel Twining (1713-1762) inherited the business.

Daniel had married Ann March, and they were parents to Thomas Twining (1735, Twickenham – 1804, Colchester, Essex) the English classical scholar and cleric. He was originally intended for a commercial life, but because of his distaste for it and his fondness for study, his father decided to send him to university.

Twining was an accomplished musician and assisted Charles Burney in writing his remarkable History of Music. His calls on the Burney family in London in 1775 were vividly and affectionately described by Burney’s daughter Fanny.

Thomas’s half-brother Richard Twining (1749–1824), a director of the East India Company and head of the tea company in The Strand, was also intimate with the Burney family.

Dial House remained in the Twining family for many years after Thomas’s death, although members did not always live there. The last member of the family to live there was the botanical illustrator Elizabeth Twining, who resided there from 1866, after the death of her mother, until her death in 1889 on Christmas Day 1889. Her wish that the property should be given to the parish for a vicarage was honoured by her brother Richard. It became the replacement for the existing vicarage, because the latter was in a condition of disrepair. Dial House has continued to belong to the Church of England: it is now used as the official residence and office of the Bishop of Kensington.”

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