By 1700 there were already more than 2000 coffee houses in London. They were also known as “Pfennig Universities”, because for this price you could get a cup of coffee and listen to extraordinary conversations for hours. Each of them specialized in a certain clientele, e.g. according to profession like doctors, army officers or merchants, but also according to party affiliation like Whigs or Tories.
They were England’s first egalitarian meeting places where a man was required to chat with his table mates, whether he knew them or not.
In Edward Lloyd’s business, for example, it was mainly seafarers and merchants who were on the move, and he regularly prepared “ship lists” to sign for insurers who met here to offer insurance. These were the beginnings of the famous insurance group Lloyd´s of London.
The London Stock Exchange or newspapers such as “The Tattler” or “The Spectator” emerged from other coffee houses.