In the early years of the 1600s, The East India Company was run out of the private residence. When East India House was opened as the new Headquarters, Mr & Mrs Harris were appointed ‘Beadle’ and Housekeeper to look after the establishment in 1661.
It was decided that "good tea was to be provided for the Company’s occassions", hence Mrs Harris started the brewing tea for the committee meetings, effectively becoming the very first ‘Tea Lady’.
Mrs Harris would have used the fine inscribed silver teapot presented to The Company in 1670, by Lord Berkeley who was married to East India Governor Sir Andrew Riccard. He was also a royalist and supporter of Charles II, who fought in the English Civil War.
And so it was Mrs Harris who therefore also started the tradition of the meeting ‘tea break’.
Two age old British ‘tea’ traditions - the Tea Lady and the Tea Break, both born at East India House.