The Differences Between the 18th Century and Contemporary Hospitality

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THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE 18TH CENTURY AND CONTEMPORARY HOSPITALITY

According to Ackroyd (Ackroyd, 2005), London hospitality took its origins in “public place of cookery” by the Thames in the 12th century. Then followed cook shops in the 16th century and eating houses, taverns or coffee shops, incredibly famous in the 18th. Without denying, London hospitality has undergone lots of changes to become what it is nowadays. Or ... has it? Are there real differences between modern and 18th century hospitality or are there mere changes of its forms? To begin with, contrary to what Ackroyd says, lots of authors consider the 18th century to be the birth of the hospitality in Britain. It could be due to different reasons. It was a time of great experimentation, political but also social. Great Britain was economically strong and the development of its middle class could not but contributed to this phenomenon. The technology discoveries participated greatly in the process with, for example, new technology of spirit distillation. The attitude to food had changed and the British begin to eat out socializing, showing off or just enjoying the food in a different place that is neither their home nor the one of their friends, colleagues, etc. One of these places was a coffee shop and it is still popular nowadays. One could find some in the Threadneedle Street, in St Martin’s Lane or at the corner of Pall Mall, convenient because of making it easy “to make appointments in any part of town” (Macaulay in Ackroyds, p.320). They used to be the business places with certain clientele to be found in every one of them. Smoking fog, periodicals, bewiggered gentlemen, news and rumours were particular to these places. Nowadays we can still find independent coffee shops with character, for example, Bullet Café (according to the guidebook of London). They are rare. A much more recent phenomenon are the café chains such as Starbucks or Coffee Republique. They tend to have little or no...
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