Chocolate House Greenwich exhibition is set to open at Old Royal Naval College

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Opening later this month, a new exhibition at Greenwich’s Old Royal Navel College is telling the delicious history of the area’s chocolate houses 

Just in time for Easter weekend, the new Chocolate House Greenwich exhibition is set to open at Old Royal Naval College, celebrating the Enlightenment and all things Chocolate. 

The 18th Century was hot chocolate’s heyday and you can now step back in time to discover its key role in the revival of Greenwich and experience a recreation of Grace and Thomas Tosier’s famous “royal” Chocolate House.

From Friday 29 March to Sunday 3 November 2024, you can explore the complex history of chocolate, and its surprising role at the heart of new cultural and scientific conversations at the time.

Helen White, senior interpretation manager at the Old Royal Naval College, says: “This new exhibition will offer visitors the chance to discover the history and appeal of chocolate as a fashionable and elegant luxury drink in 18th-century Greenwich. 

“It will trace the story of chocolate from its origins in Central America to its role as a mark of sophistication among London’s Enlightenment movers and shakers.” 

In the early 18th Century, Greenwich became a popular destination for those in search of elegant surroundings and was a hub for astronomy, science and culture.

The Tosier Chocolate House, located in what became known as Chocolate Row, became a social space for the leading figures of the day. 

The exhibition tells the story of Greenwich’s rich chocolate history, White explains: “Grace Tosier’s famous Chocolate House was part of the regeneration of Greenwich in the early 1700s when Sir Christopher Wren’s iconic architectural project, the Royal Hospital for Seamen, was reviving the fortunes of the town.

“Greenwich was a place on the up and was fast becoming a popular destination for people of sophisticated tastes.”

She adds: “We have recreated the Tosier Chocolate House favoured by courtiers and ambassadors of the time.

“The audio and visual experience presents the flamboyant proprietor, Grace Tosier, and a chance to listen in on great minds of the day, including architect and astronomer Sir Christopher Wren, writer and diarist John Evelyn, the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed, and playwright and architect John Vanbrugh.”

A series of events will also complement the exhibition, including an Easter Trail for families, a Choc-o-Late this summer, and a series of hands-on chocolate-themed and chocolate-making workshops. 

Dates: Friday 29 March to Sunday 3 November 2024

Tickets: Included as part of Painted Hall ticket (£15, rising to £16.50 from 1 April 2024). Children go free

Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, Greenwich, SE10 9NN


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