Kōrero: Street life

Coffee stall licence

Coffee stall licence

With their glowing lanterns, steaming coffee and warming pies and saveloys, coffee stalls attracted night owls in need of sustenance. Police complained they were also a magnet for thieves, prostitutes and drunks – stall holders sometimes laced their coffee with brandy or whisky for an extra charge. Consequently coffee stall owners had to prove they were of good character before they were granted a licence to trade.

This 1915 letter from the applicant Joseph Doherty for a pie and coffee stall in central Wellington stresses he would not supply refreshments to drunk customers.

It reads:

23 Duncan St

20 April 1915

Town Clerk

Dear Sir

I beg to apply to the city council for permit to run a Pie and coffee stall at the corner of Hunter or Mercer St + Lambton quay, between the hours of 8 20 pm and 2 am

If the council grant my request I promise to conduct the place on select lines, anyone under the influence of drink will not be supplied with refreshments at the stall.

I Remain yours very Respectfully

Joseph Doherty

P/S Satisfactory references will be forwarded if required.

Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi

Wellington City Archives
Reference: 00233:277:1915/663

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Ngā whakaahua me ngā rauemi katoa o tēnei kōrero

Te tuhi tohutoro mō tēnei whārangi:

Ben Schrader, 'Street life - Street trade and people, 1840–1914', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/photograph/20672/coffee-stall-licence (accessed 25 September 2023)

He kōrero nā Ben Schrader, i tāngia i te 11 Mar 2010