“You must choose between me and your cigar”*

*taken from the report of evidence in a breach of promise case and used as epigraph to his poem “The Betrothed”, by Rudyard Kipling, (1886).

Above: opposite the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2.

From Londonist.com:

“…The roots of the UK cigar scene can be traced back to 1814, when officers returned from the Peninsular War with cigars gifted by their fellow Spanish officers. The officer’s messes and gentleman’s clubs of London started to seek out fine examples of the smoke, made with tobacco from Cuba.

Then, in the early 19th century a new type of coffee house started to appear. Cigar divans, as they were known, were coffee houses which catered for tobacco smokers. The venues featured musicians and poets and were wildly successful and very fashionable to be seen in. The original London divan was thought to have been Mr Gliddon’s Cigar Divan, opening at 42 King Street on 8 February, 1825 by Anne Gliddon. The idea had come from Gliddon’s brother who had travelled extensively in the East. The salon, it’s said was hung “like an eastern tent, the drapery festooned around you…”.”

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