Some five years have passed since I penned my post, “Spitalfields Weavers, Three Threads, and Porter“. That post, dated September 20, 2015, argued that porter, the famous London black beer, and three threads, for a related beer type, quite plausibly were named for terms used in the Spitalfields London weaving industry of c. 1700.
In turn, the argument had its origins in a paper I wrote in 2010 called “Notes on Three Threads and Numerical Variations”, as explained in the 2015 post.
My theory is completely novel, there was no hint of it in porter studies preceding. It is the first new idea on the name origin of porter for hundreds of years.
While there are elements of speculation in it, the pieces I put together, in my opinion, are rather compelling, especially as no other theory accounts nearly as well for the term three threads, or the related thread beers (two threads, four threads, etc).
(The hitherto generally accepted theory for the origin of the name porter, that it came from the men who moved goods in London because they liked the beer, also is speculative, in that it is based on inferences from period terms such as “porter’s liquors”).
I bring the blog work forward, hyperlinked above, as it may interest those who have never read it, and perhaps also some who would like to revisit.
Further, I have now completed a formal, referenced paper on this subject that has been accepted for publication by the prestigious, UK-based food history journal, Petits Propos Culinaires. PPC, as it is known, is edited by well-known author, publisher, editor, and journalist, Tom Jaine. It will appear in print by mid-2021.