Magazine article The Spectator

Now and Then

Magazine article The Spectator

Now and Then

Article excerpt

H.V. MORTON'S collection of essays The Heart of London was published in 1925. His London is compared with that of today:

A teashop is a delightful place. It is the milestone that marks the end of a day's work.

Seventy-five years on, coffee is the new tea. Starbucks outlets spring up in London all the time. But far from marking the end of a day's work the) very often host that work; in the age ol the officeless freelancer, mobiles and laptops sit next to cappuccinos. Sales teams use Starbucks for their meetings.

London's tea-shops are ... refuges from a day's shopping, trysting places after a terrible eight hours' separation. This much has stayed the same. The beam that appears on the businessman's face as his wife appears, laden with bags from Warehouse and Next, shows that those eight hours can still be terrible.

The orchestra in Morton's teashop plays Puccini. …

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