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Tea: Addiction, Exploitation and Empire Roy Moxham

Tea: Addiction, Exploitation and Empire - Roy Moxham

Constable, 2003, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good — in Very Good Dust Wrapper. Leans slightly otherwise a very well presented copy.

Illustrated by way of: Black & White Plates; Maps;

From the cover: “Personal Column of The Times, November 1960: Tobacco or Tea Estate; young man (21), good A-levels (Science), now fruit farming, seeks position view management. Write Box Y. 1901, The Times, EC4. I only had one reply. A Mr. Maclean Kay wrote to say he owned a tea estate in Nyasaland, now Malawi, and was in Britain looking for a manager. If I was interested, I should arrange an appointment to meet him in Plantation House, Mincing Lane.

So began Roy Moxham’s five-year sojourn in colonial Malawi, managing 500 acres of tea and 1,000-plus workforce. His presence there, at the very end of Empire, was not fortuitous: tea production had been started in Africa by the British, with seed sent out to missionaries by the Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh.

Moxham’s experiences led him to investigate the history of tea, a fascinating tale but one that reflects little credit on the British Empire. When tea first reached Europe and America from China in the 17th century, its high price restricted its use to the wealthy. Heavy taxes led to murderous smuggling and eventually to the notorious Boston Tea Party; while in China the British brutally imposed the opium trade to finance its tea dealings. Intrepid and eccentric British planters flocked to India, Ceylon and Africa, and a million workers were moved on to the plantations, bought, sold and stolen like slaves.

Today the British addiction is shared by many: tea is easily the world’s most popular drink whose wholesome image belies its violent past, entertainingly though chillingly recounted here by Roy Moxham.”


Jacket designed by Edward Millar. Size: 8½" x 5¾". Green boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. [XII] 271 pages.
£10.80

This one has already found a new owner.