Eating and drinking
The number of public houses increased after the 1830 Beer House Act
Originally, inns provided accommodation and nourishment for travellers and their horses. A number of these establishments were also staging posts, thus The King’s Head (1747) on the south side of King Street, Twickenham, served coaches from London, while The George (1737), almost opposite, served the same purpose for those going in the other direction.
A change in the law of 1830 (The Beer House Act) allowed a large number of beer houses, known as “Tom and Jerry shops” to open. In Twickenham in 1818 there had been 20 public houses: by 1845 there were 22 with 37 Tom and Jerry shops. Most of the beer houses were located in the poorer areas: two in Church Street and two more in Bell Lane, for example.
Increased travel and a rising population, particularly after the coming of the railway, led to an increase in the number of public houses. The increase in tourism also had its effect, particularly around Hampton Court Palace. By the time the trams arrived in 1903, nine hotels and two restaurants offered lunch, tea and dinner near the Palace Gates. The increasing popularity of cycling and the popularity of boating and boat trips also increased demand for teas and meals, particularly near the river. It was still a long way to go to the eating out revolution but the process had started.