In Penarth back in 1894 anyone wanting a cup of coffee didn’t call at a coffee shop – they would instead drop in to a “coffee tavern”.
One such establishment was the “Brittania (sic) Coffee Tavern” in Glebe St which was also branded as “Williams Dining Rooms” .
The dining rooms – or “refreshment rooms” as they were also called – served ham and eggs, “hot dinners”, and steaks – and also sold cigars and tobacco.It was unfortunately the latter commodity which was to result in a court appearance for the blameless looking landlord of the establishment Mr Richard Pearcy.
In August 1894 he appeared in Penarth Police Court before magistrates Mr. L. Wood and Major Thornley charged with “keeping his house open during prohibited hours at midnight on the 29th of July” .
Mr Pearcy came up with a less than convincing explanation that “boys going mushrooming” had called at his premises for what he called “some Virginias” and he had sold them the cigarettes. He was fined five shillings .