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‘Defensio, Non Provocatio’

When researching the articles for Teynham News I came across an advertisement headed ‘Defensio, Non Provocatio’ which is apparently part of a title from a book on the history of the sale and use of tea in England.

From the newspaper, dated Monday 6th July 1874, it would appear that a trade ‘battle’ was going on. Tea was initially sold in England in taverns, run by victuallers and coffee houses. Grocers were slow to realise the potential value of tea as a commodity. The advertisement was placed by the Licensed Victuallers’ Tea Association, based in Southwark Street, London and said

THE LICENSED VICTUALLERS TEA ASSOCIATION, founded in- 1867, and owing its origin to the irregular competition of the Grocers in the sale of Wine, is now supplying through the following appointed Agents in; this County, its unequalled Teas, in sealed packets of 1lb , ½ lb, ¼ lb, and 2oz - each packet having the price, trade-mark, name and address of the Association, without which none is genuine.
The Trade Mark is registered according to law to copy or imitate which is forgery. License Victuallers and Wine Merchants only are eligible as Agents to the Association.
A Sample parcel of Eight Pounds forwarded Carriage Free to any Railway Station in the Kingdom on receipt of Post Office Order.
[All Post Office Orders, Cheques and Bills were to be made payable to the Secretary with the splendid name of Augustus Folkard.]

TEA

TAE-PING, Good Strong Black .................. 2s. 0d per lb.
TAE-PING, The Finest Strong Black ..........2s 6d per lb.
TAE-PING, The Finest Souchong Black ....3s 0d per lb.
TAE-PING, The Finest Mixed ......................3s 0d per lb.
TAE-PING, The Finest Green ......................3s 6d per lb.
CARAVAN, An Exquisite Tea .....................3s 6d per lb.
In Sealed Packets of 1lb, ½ lb, ¼ lb and 2ozs.

COFFEE

Good Strong ...................................................1s 6d per lb.
The Finest Granular. .......................................2s 0d per lb.
In Tins of 1lb. and ½ lb and Packets of ¼ lb


All these were apparently available from, amongst others,E. Frost, Ship Inn, Conyer, near Sittingbourne.

Looks good value, I hear you say, but one shilling in 1874 was worth about £26 in today’s money (2014)!! A labourer’s average wage in 1874 was around 10 (50p) to 12 (60p) shillings per week.

As we have seen, the only winners in this battle have been the large Supermarkets, with the demise of pubs/inns and grocers stores.

Cllr. Brian Sharman.