New Year's card from Spinner & Co, Tea Merchant
Sending seasonal greetings cards was a familiar idea by the end of the 19th century: many businesses, in particular, sent cards to their customers wishing them a 'Happy New Year'. From the point of view of consumers, the growing popularity of greeting cards stemmed from the introduction of the penny post in 1840.
The card shown here is from a tea merchant. Tea was first recorded as being drunk in London in 1658, but it is Duchess Anna of Bedford who is credited with starting the tradition of taking afternoon tea some two centuries later. She was one of Queen Victoria’s ladies in waiting and was fond of eating cakes and drinking tea with her friends in her private rooms. The custom quickly spread throughout Britain and soon every class of society was partaking.