The Twining family originate from Gloucestershire and there they held the occupation of weavers and fulling millers. Although their ties with the county went back many centuries, recession drove the family to London in 1684. With them went nine-year-old Thomas Twining, founder of the tea business.
In London, it seemed natural for Thomas to follow his father's profession by taking an apprenticeship with a London weaver. Attaining a trade was an essential for becoming a Freeman of the City of London; it was the key to any future business career.
The ambitious young Thomas Twining became a Freeman in 1701 at the age of 26. By that time he had turned his back on weaving and was learning a new trade working for a wealthy merchant and handling some of the early shipments of tea.
Thomas Twining went to learn his new trade from an East India Company merchant, Thomas D'Aeth. At that time, the East India Company was importing many exotic new products from around the world, including tea.