London SE1 website team

Tea and coffee museum closes

The Bramah Tea and Coffee Museum on Butler's Wharf has suddenly closed having suffered a severe drop in visitor numbers this summer.

Whilst Tate Modern and the London Eye have had millions of visitors in a year the unique Tea and Coffee Museum claims to be a victim of development. When Edward Bramah opened his museum in 1992 behind the Design Museum the area was little visited but he attracted up to 3,000 visitors a month and in one year 30,000 people.

In 1997 the successful museum became a charitable trust. However, he says that in 1998 developers and builders moved in and with blocked roads the flow of visitors along Maguire Street ceased.

"Tourists just couldn't get through to us and attendance plummeted" says Edward Bramah, who has written definitive books on tea and coffee and spent 40 years planning the museum. He chose Butler's Wharf because of its long association with tea and coffee importing. Now the exhibits, including rare teapots and packaging, are in storage.

"We've proved the museum is popular" says the determined museum founder. "I think there is a genuine interest in the cultural and commercial heritage that has grown out of tea and coffee. Bankside is growing into a major tourist area and I would hope that Southwark would be keen to keep the museum. It's not too late to stay here but I need help to find premises."

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