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Twinings Heritage

Something tangible and real

The product and history of the brand are inspiring, as are the people we work with

The family background

The Twining family came from Painswick in Gloucestershire where they were weavers and millers. Hard times drove the family to London in 1684 and with them went nine-year-old Thomas Twining, founder of the tea business.

Thomas’s early training

In his early 20s, Thomas learned about international business while working for an East India Company merchant. The company was importing many exotic new products from overseas, including tea.

In 1717, Thomas bought Tom’s Coffee House in Devereux court in London, just off the London Strand. Thomas opened the world's first dry tea and coffee shop.

The height of fashion

Around this time, tea drinking was becoming increasingly fashionable amongst rich people. Seeing its potential, Thomas focused his business on tea – selling his quality blends to other coffee houses and the aristocracy. This strategy became the cornerstone of long-term success.

Mary Twining, a woman in business

When Thomas died in 1741, his son Daniel took the reins and began exporting to America. His wife Mary succeeded him in 1762 and ran the business with great success until her son Richard took over in 1771.

Tea for everyone

In 1784, at a time when tea smuggling was rife, Richard Twining was Chairman of the London Tea Dealers. He played a key role in lowering the tax on tea by persuading Richard Pitt, the Prime Minister, to bring in The Commutation Act of 1784. This slashed tea taxes, deterred the smugglers and, at last, made tea affordable for all. It marked the beginning of tea-drinking as part of everyday life.

10 generations later

So far, 10 generations of the Twining family have overseen the business across the years. We still have members of the Twining family working for us today, making sure all of our products meet the same high standards set by Thomas in the early 18th Century.

Explore more Twinings history

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