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A nice cup of tea

Whenever I go to London, either on business or for pleasure, I always try and make time to pop into the V&A for a spot of afternoon tea. There is usually a pretty good choice of cakes and pastries at very reasonable prices but the best part is that you get to sit the beautiful V&A Cafe.

Designed by Henry Cole in the late 1860s, the stunning Gamble Room and the two smaller side rooms were the height of Victorian design and innovation. The beautiful ceramic tiles covering the walls and the columns were used for the dual purpose of being washable, and therefore hygenic for an eating place, but also making the room fireproof which was a major concern to the Victorians at the time. It would have taken horse-drawn fire engines a long time to reach South Kensington, still a very rural place in the 1860s. As an additional precaution, food for this main refreshment room was prepared in kitchens outside the walls. The stunning stained glass windows are full of Victorian maxims and mottoes about the joys of eating and drinking, such as such as 'Hunger is the best sauce' and 'A good cup makes all young'. The frieze that runs around the entire room above the windows reads 'There is nothing better for a man than that he should eat and drink, and make his soul enjoy the good of his labour - XYZ.'

Next time you're in London, why not make time to visit this fantastic museum. It's free to enter and full of the most amazing pieces design from ceramics to architecture, sculpture to fashion from around the world. And of course, stop for a cup of tea and a slice of cake in the Cafe.

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