The building now housing the Texas Embassy is the former home of the famous White Star shipping line, owners of the Titanic. When the Titanic sank it was to this very building friends and relatives came to view the lists of survivors. An actual black and white photo of this time is hanging on the wall to the right of the main exit from the Cantina.
But our story really begins back in the early 1800's, in a vast and lawless wilderness ruled by Mexico. Bold Americans and Europeans settled the land and called their home TEXAS.
In 1836 Texans demanded their freedom, Mexico refused. The two sides met at the battle of the Alamo, where less than 200 brave Texans held off 4,000 Mexican soldiers for 13 days. Finally the Alamo fell, but soon after General Sam Houston led an army of highly outnmbered but determined Texans on a surprise attack. Screaming "remember the Alamo!" the Texans routed the Mexicans at the Battle of San Jacinto and on April 21st 1836 secured Texas's independence.
Today a lot of Texans consider their state a country, but from 1836 to 1845 it actually was a country called The Republic of Texas and Ge. Sam Houston was its President. The Republic set up an Embassy right here in London. It currently is the Berry Brothers wine store on St James Street. A plaque still marks the spot where boisterous Texans and the reserved British struck up an unlikely friendship that continues to this day.
After independence came and tempers cooled along the Texas - Mexico border, cowboys and ranchers on both sides discovered some tasty foods around each other's campfires using Mexican staples like tortillas, jalapeños, beans, chicken and fresh vegetables. The result is what we call "Tex-Mex", a mix of the best from both sides of the border.
Back at the Embassy, England made a generous offer to defend Texas and help her remain independent forever.But events in America took over, and the first Texas Embassy closed in 1845 when Texas joined the United States. Now, 150 years later, the Texas Embassy is back with a border Cantina and some great Tex-Mex food.