Coffee Houses & Taverns in Hertfordshire

Old Herts

Subject Index 



Coffee Taverns started to appear in Hertfordshire around 1880. There had been commercial coffee houses in the cities and larger towns for many years and these were encouraged by the temperance movement. The Band of Hope opened a coffee house in Hertford in 1875 but the movement into Hertfordshire was encouraged by the opening of the "British Workman" Public House in Aylesbury, Bucks, in December 1876 which quickly lead to the opening of similar establishments in the Vale of Aylesbury, including the "British Workman Cocoa Rooms" in Tring by 1878. This was followed by the Tring Coffee House and the Aldbury Reading and Coffee Room, both opening in November 1878. Within a couple of years local temperance groups were opening similar coffee taverns all over Hertfordshire - often financed by shares in a limited company funded in part by members of the local temperance movement. While  these companies offered a good return on the investment in the Hertfordshire cases I have seen the suggested return was hopelessly over-optimistic. They were often associated with a working men's club.

A press report on the opening of the Bengeo Coffee Tavern provides some useful background information.



Tring Coffee House opened 1878

Bengeo Coffee Tavern opened 1879

Star Coffee Tavern, Shenley opened 1880


In 1878 the following Coffee Rooms are listed for Hertfordshire:

British Workman Cocoa Rooms (Alf Minall, manager), Frogmore Street, Tring

Frederick. Dunkerton, Bushey Heath, Bushey

William Jennings, High Street, Barnet

J. Saddington, Upper Dagnall Street, St Albans

Isaac Winter, 171 High Street, Watford


Possibly all but the first were normal commercially run establishments.



Some of the press references to Hertfordshire Coffee Taverns prior to 1880

THE BAND OF HOPE. - A reading and coffee room has been opened, in connection with the Hertford Band of Hope, in Railway Street [Hertford]. The room is supplied with the daily and weekly newspapers, and tea and coffee and other refreshments are sold at extremely moderate prices.

Hertford Mercury, 15th May, 1875

OPENING OF "THE BRITISH WORKMAN" PUBLIC HOUSE. - We have to announce the opening on Monday, in connection with the Churuch Temperance Society, of a novel plave of entertainment for Aylesbury, viz., a public house without intoxicating drinks. This is the British Workman in Cambridge-street, and it combines the double character of a temperance club with a reading room well supplied with papers, and a place of refreshment wherein a basin of soup or a cup of tea or coffee, &c., can be obtained at low fixed charges. It is under the auspices of the Vicar, and on the opening day was well patronised.

Bucks Herald, 9th December 1876

THE TEMPERANCE HOTEL of the Tring Coffee House Company Limited was opened on Friday week.

Bucks Herald, 16th November, 1878

ALDBURY, READING AND COFFEE ROOM. - To supply a want which has long been felt in this village - a reading room, Mrs Bright has fitted up one of her cottages, old fashioned and roomy, and situate opposite the pond, in the centre of the village; in every way admirably adapted for the purpose. ... ...

Bucks Herald, 23rd November, 1878

COFFEE TAVERN FOR BENGEO. - A preliminary meeting of ladies and gentlemen favourable to the erection of a coffee tavern at Bengeo, was held on Monday afternoon, in the Working Men's Club of the village. ... ...

Hertford Mercury, 19th April, 1879

HEMEL HEMPSTEAD. COFFEE TAVERN - The Vicar, the Rev. Oswell Thompson, has sent out a circular inviting attendance in the Ante-Room of the Town Hall on Tuesday afternoon next at 3 o'clock to consider what steps should be taken to institure a Coffee Tavern in this place

Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 3rd May, 1879

BERKHAMSTEAD UNION ... Plans were produced of a coffee tavern in Castle Street, ...

Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 10th May, 1879

A letter was read from Earl Brownlow on the subject of the site of the Coffee Tavern proposed to be erected in Castle Street [Berkhamsted], and it was resolved to adjourn the subject till the next meeting,

Hertford Mercury, 17th May 1879

COFFEE TAVERN [Long article about setting up a tavern in Hemel Hempstead]

Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 31st May, 1879

WATFORD. COFFEE TAVERN  COMPANY (LIMITED). - A general meeting of the shareholders of this company was held at the Coffee Tavern on Saturday, the 17th inst. ... ...

Hertford Mercury, 31st May 1879

GREAT BERKHAMPSTEAD. TEMPERANCE BAND. - On Tuesday evening, the newly-formed Boxmoor Temperance Drum and Fife Band visited Berkhampstead, and treated the town to some of its best music, whjich was vreditable to the players. After refreshment at the Temperance Coffee House, the band made its return march to Boxmoor.

Bucks Herald, 12th July, 1879

The construction of the Coffee House for the village [Bengeo] is making rapid progress, the contractor having got beyond the first story of the building. In this respect Bengeo has set an example to Hertford which the latter might advantageously follow. ...

Hertford Mercury, 12th July, 1879

HERTFORD COFFEE TAVERN COMPANY (LIMITED) {Lengthy correspondence about the sale and allocation of shares,}

Hertford Mercury, 26th July, 1879

The George & Dragon coffee tavern in Castle Street [Berkhamsted], in course of erection by Messr Laselles, of London, is near completion.

Hertford Mercury, 13th September, 1879

THE COFFEE TAVERN. - It may be interesting to some of our readers to know that the Hemel Hempstead Coffee Tavern Company have purchased the premises now occupied by Mr. Snell, baker, i High Street (adjoining the White Hart, for the erection of a new Coffee Tavern. Applications for shares, which are only one pound, can be made to the Bucks and Oxon Bank, Hemel Hempstead.

Hemel Hempstead Gazette, 20th September, 1879


Hertford Mercury, 27th September, 1879


See Bengeo Coffee Tavern


HEMEL HEMPSTEAD - COFFEE TAVERN COMPANY. - The first general meeting of the members of the Hemel Hempstead Coffee Tavern Company ws held in the ante-room of the Town Hall on Saturday, Oct. 18, the Rev. W. O. Thompson in the chair. ... ...

Hertford Mercury, 1st November, 1879

GREAT BERKHAMPSTEAD. GEORGE AND DRAGON COFFEE TAVERN. - In consequence of the accommodation proving insufficient, a large additional room is being added in the rear of the building.

Bucks Herald, 22nd November, 1879


The George & Dragon, Berkhamsted


Bucks Herald, 20th December, 1879

June 2013   Page Created