New generation of east London film-makers stir interest in drinking tea

PUBLISHED: 16:03 11 August 2016 | UPDATED: 22:48 14 August 2016

Filming on the Regent's Canal the history of east London's tea trade

Filming on the Regent's Canal the history of east London's tea trade

Mouth That Roared

Young movie-makers have been stirring it up in east London about our love affair with the nation’s favourite brew.

Tea and cakes stirs memories of our traditional cuppaTea and cakes stirs memories of our traditional cuppa

They have taken part in an inter-generation heritage project at Mouth That Roars non-profit youth media company producing two documentaries on the history of the tea trade, one being screened at the Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch and the other appropriately on board the Cutty Sark famous tea clipper at Greenwich.

The 12 youngsters were told to “spill the beans”—not about coffee, but to uncover the history of tea, which they filmed, cast and directed themselves.

Two Leaves and a Bud is about the often-dangerous history of the tea trade, from early beginnings in China to bloody wars, slavery, drug addiction and the impact of the London Docks.

Spootfeeding ideas while filming the tea storySpootfeeding ideas while filming the tea story

Fancy a Cuppa? is the social history, recording memories of older people and sharing stories over tea and cake.

They held community tea parties in east London to spoon-feed memories about the ubiquitous cuppa.

“I couldn’t get out in the morning without a pint of tea!” one guest admitted.

“Tea reminds me of when first arriving in London from Ireland,” another said. “I wasn’t a tea-drinker, but everywhere I went visiting family, the kettle was on and there was always tea!”

One guest remembered years ago when the Brooke Bond factory in Whitechapel made packets of tea and included “cards like cigarette cards with animals or film-stars which you would collect or swap at school”.

Yet another recalled: “I come from Jamaica and really didn’t like it when we stopped work at 10 o’clock for a morning cuppa, but gradually become to really like tea!”

The research also took the young film-makers to tastings at Twinings, High Tea at the Hotel Café Royal and “leafing through” the Sainsbury Archive.

The Geffrye Museum’s period rooms were used for scenes depicting the tea story in the 1700s, 1800s, 1930s and the present day.

Two Leaves and a Bud is being shown free at the Geffrye in Kingsland Road, served with tea and cakes at 2pm on Wednesday, August 24, but has to be booked-up on 020-7729 2323, or email

Fancy a Cuppa? is being shown on board the world-famous Cutty Sark clipper for invited guests.

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