Thomas Payne was a well-known bookseller in 18th century London. He was born in Brackley, Northamptonshire. From 1750 he ran a shop in Castle Street, Leicester Fields. The premises were notoriously small, but exceptionally popular with the literati of that period. Referred to as the "Literary Coffee House", the shop became a sort of club during the day for discussions on all subjects. Patrons included George Steevens, Thomas Crofts, John Hoole and Thomas Tyrwhitt. He retired to Finchley in 1790 leaving the business in the hands of his son, also Thomas Payne. He is buried at St. Mary’s church in Finchley.