Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate
Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate is a family company located in North and West Yorkshire, England. Bettys Café Tea Rooms are traditional tea rooms serving traditional meals with influences both from Switzerland and Yorkshire. Taylors is a family tea and coffee merchant company which blends Yorkshire Tea and Taylors of Harrogate Coffee. Bettys products are handmade and use high quality ingredients, usually sourced locally. The current chairman of the company is Lesley Wild, solicitor, designer, author and wife of Jonathan Wild, the great-nephew of the founder Frederick Belmont.
The first Bettys tea room was opened on Cambridge Crescent in Harrogate, West Riding of Yorkshire, by Frederick Belmont, a Swiss confectioner, in July 1919. The Harrogate tea rooms later moved to their current position on Parliament Street.
Belmont arrived in England at King's Cross railway station able to speak little English and losing his document with the address of his destination. After confronting many passers by, an old gentleman who spoke a small amount of French managed to tell him where he was going, Bradford. Belmont returned to King's Cross shouting "Bradfat" at any railway station official he could find; eventually he managed to board the correct train to Bradford. In the 1920s, Belmont opened a craft bakery in Harrogate, which meant it was possible to open more tea rooms, including a York branch. The merger with Taylors of Harrogate (founded 1886) came about in 1962.
The origin of the name is unknown. The company's website suggests four possibilities: Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, mother of Queen Elizabeth II (which seems unlikely as she did not come to public prominence until marrying the Duke of York in 1923); Betty Lupton, former manager of the Harrogate Spa; the daughter of a previous occupant of the Harrogate premises who died of tuberculosis; or a small child who interrupted a meeting at which the choice of name was being discussed.
In 2001 Bettys opened a cookery school on the same site as their craft bakery, at Plumpton Park near Harrogate.
Bettys marked their 90th anniversary in July 2009 with afternoon tea of patisseries, fancies and cakes from the past served by waitresses dressed in period costumes.
There are currently six Bettys tea rooms, which all comprise a shop as well as a café. The locations of the tea rooms are:
- Bettys Harrogate - Parliament Street, Harrogate
- Bettys York - St Helen's Square, York
- Bettys Stonegate (formerly Little Bettys) - Stonegate, York
- Bettys Northallerton - High Street, Northallerton
- Bettys Ilkley - The Grove, Ilkley
- Bettys Harlow Carr - RHS Harlow Carr, Harrogate
The St Helen's Square café in York was inspired by the magnificent RMS Queen Mary cruise liner and became particularly popular during World War II when the basement ‘Bettys Bar’ became a favourite with hundreds of American and Canadian ‘Bomber Boys’ who were stationed around York. ‘Bettys Mirror’, on which many of them engraved their signatures with a diamond pen, remains on display at the branch today.
In 1962 Bettys joined forces with another Yorkshire business, family tea and coffee merchants, Taylors of Harrogate, who still manufacture Yorkshire Tea and Taylors of Harrogate Coffee.
Bettys have refused many times to open a branch outside Yorkshire, claiming that keeping Bettys small means a watchful eye can be kept on every detail.
Working for Bettys and Taylors
- The name was originally written "Betty's" (with an apostrophe, presumably as a possessive), as one can see from old adverts in the Harrogate store, but at some point the apostrophe was dropped, and it is now uniformly written without an apostrophe – see Possessives in business names and S-form
- Simms, Jane (November 2008). "Profile: Jonathan Wild". Director Magazine. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
- "Mysterious Betty of cream teas", The Yorkshire Post, 21 July 1979.
- "About us". Bettys Cookery School. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
- "Bettys Café Tea Rooms in St Helen’s Square, York celebrate 90th birthday". York Press. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 2009-07-15.
- Greenhalf, Jim (2012-10-01). "Sad as Acropolis cafe bites the dust". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
- "Bettys and Taylors". The Sunday Times (London). 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2008-05-05.