We’re delighted to welcome Jack Dykstra to Placecloud as a new expert. Jack will be publishing 15 viewpoints in June, zooming in on London’s (in)famous coffee house culture of a few centuries ago.
Jack has always been enthralled by curious places and mad stories. He found them in fantasy first, then he discovered history. So he took a BA from Trinity College, Dublin, an MPhil from Cambridge and is currently researching there for his PhD, exploring cross-cultural interactions between Islam and England in the early modern world. But his real thrill is London and travel, feeling those great colourful expanses and claustrophobic alleys, where history comes alive.
Jack uncovers London at its most explosive: stinking of booze, twitching with coffee, lusty with chocolate and bursting with bustle. A host of London’s 17th– and 18th-century coffeehouses, regarded as the engines of English politics and literature, but also with deep links to the Ottoman Empire and the global sugar trade. Aphrodisiacal chocolate houses that gave way to exclusive clubs. Taverns with blood-soaked tales. Bland buildings belying strange societies and many other hidden histories. London overflowing with flavour and entangled with the world.