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The Boston tea party
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Tea drinking took off in America at the end of the seventeenth century and the fashion for tea gardens became popular there, too. In Boston, a major seaport, tea symbolised wealth and social status. America was a British colony at that time, and much of its tea was imported from Britain, including a good share of it from Fortnum & Mason.

The Boston tea party

American customers in the 1930s flocked to Fortnum’s for tea, while British customers sought American specialities.

In 1767, Parliament increased taxes on tea and other goods in the American colonies to cover administrative costs in the New World. It proved immensely unpopular, and while over the ensuing years taxes on some goods were lifted, the hated tax on tea remained. One fateful day in 1773, seven ships from England arrived carrying tea. Bostonians, many dressed as Native Americans, boarded one of these, the Dartmouth, and threw its cargo of Lapsang Suchong (some of which is thought to have been Fortnum’s) into the salty harbor. The incident, immortalised in the title the Boston Tea Party, marked the end of Britain’s governance of that part of North America but did not end Fortnum’s American customers’ love of good tea, which continued to be exported to discerning Loyalists and Republicans alike.

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