Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate

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Bettys and Taylors Group Limited
IndustryTea rooms, cafés, retail, tea, coffee, confectionery and bakery Products
FoundedBettys and Taylors Group Ltd: 1962
Bettys: 1919
Taylors of Harrogate: 1886
FounderCharles Taylor (Taylors of Harrogate)
Frederick Belmont (Bettys)
Area served
Key people
Jonathan Wild (Chairman of the Board)
Linda Close (Managing Director)
Andrew Brown (Managing Director)
ProductsYorkshire Tea
Taylors Coffee
Bettys Tea Rooms
Other products
Revenue£208 million (2018)
OwnerFredrick Belmont's family (fourth generation)
Number of employees
Taylors of Harrogate
Bettys Tea Rooms

Bettys and Taylors of Harrogate, also known as Bettys and Taylors Group Limited,[1] is a family company based in Yorkshire, England. The company's brands are Bettys (with no apostrophe), Taylors of Harrogate and Yorkshire Tea.[2] Bettys Café Tea Rooms are traditional tea rooms serving traditional meals with influences both from Switzerland and Yorkshire. Taylors of Harrogate was a family tea and coffee merchant company, founded in 1886, which blended Yorkshire Tea and Taylors of Harrogate Coffee; the owners of Bettys acquired Taylors in 1962. 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.

Yorkshire Gold tea
Yorkshire Tea for use with hard water

Yorkshire Tea was introduced by Charles Edward Taylor and his brother in 1883, creating their company, CE Taylor & Co., which was later shortened to "Taylor's". The brothers later opened "Tea Kiosks" in the Yorkshire towns of Harrogate and Ilkley, and in 1962, local tea room competitor 'Betty's' took over 'Taylor's', renamed it 'Taylors of Harrogate' and formed Bettys and Taylors Group, which still to this day, is owned by the family of Fredrick Belmont, who founded 'Betty's Tea Rooms'. The Group now uses the 'Bettys' and 'Taylors' brands in a number of industries including Yorkshire Tea and Taylors Coffee Merchants under the 'Taylors of Harrogate' name and Bettys Tea Rooms, Bettys Cookery School and Bettys Confectionery under the 'Bettys' brand. [3]

In 2007 Bettys and Taylors was 72nd in a list of "the 100 best companies to work for" compiled by The Sunday Times.[4]


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.[5] The Harrogate tea rooms later moved to their current position on Parliament Street.

Belmont arrived in England at King's Cross railway station and boarded a train to Bradford as much through luck as judgement, for he spoke very limited English and could not recall the address (or even the city) to which he was supposed to be heading.[6] In 1922, Belmont opened a craft bakery in Harrogate, which meant it was possible to open more tea rooms, including branches in Bradford, Leeds and York (the latter, the biggest branch, opened in 1937).[7]

The origin of the Bettys 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.

The merger with Taylors of Harrogate (founded 1886) came about in 1962.[8]

In 1986 Bettys by Post was developed, initially a mail order company, but later moving online. In 2001 Bettys opened a cookery school on the same site as their craft bakery, at Plumpton Park near Harrogate.[9]

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.[10]

Tea rooms[edit]

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 and originally Taylor's) – 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.

Until 1976 there was a Bettys tea room in Commercial Street, Leeds in premises now (as at February 2008) used as a mobile phone shop. There was also a tea room in Bradford, on Darley Street.[11]

Bettys have refused many times to open a branch outside Yorkshire, saying that keeping Bettys small means a watchful eye can be kept on every detail.[12]


The Bettys name is attached to several books, mainly sold through the tea rooms:

  • Hearts, Tarts & Rascals, Jonathan Wild[13]
  • A Year of Family Recipes, Lesley Wild[14]
  • Who Was Betty?, various contributors[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The name was originally written "Betty's" (with an apostrophe, presumably as a possessive), as can be seen 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
  2. ^ "Our brands". Bettys and Taylors Group ltd. Archived from the original on 4 July 2014. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  3. ^ Simms, Jane (November 2008). "Profile: Jonathan Wild". Director Magazine. Archived from the original on 21 September 2010. Retrieved 19 July 2010.
  4. ^ "Bettys and Taylors". The Sunday Times. London. 11 March 2007. Retrieved 5 May 2008.
  5. ^ "Mysterious Betty of cream teas", The Yorkshire Post, 21 July 1979.
  6. ^ Wild, Jonathan (October 2005). Hearts Tarts and Rascals. Great Northern Books. pp. 10–11. ISBN 9780955091407.
  7. ^ Wild, Jonathan (October 2005). Hearts Tarts and Rascals. Great Northern Books. p. 22. ISBN 9780955091407.
  8. ^ Wild, Jonathan (October 2005). Hearts Tarts and Rascals. Great Northern Books. p. 34. ISBN 9780955091407.
  9. ^ "About us". Bettys Cookery School. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  10. ^ "Bettys Café Tea Rooms in St Helen's Square, York celebrate 90th birthday". York Press. 15 July 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  11. ^ Greenhalf, Jim (1 October 2012). "Sad as Acropolis cafe bites the dust". Telegraph & Argus. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  12. ^ "Bettys brews up a record £10m profit following year of growth". The Yorkshire Post. 6 July 2013. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  13. ^ Wild, Jonathan (October 2005). Hearts Tarts and Rascals. Great Northern Books. ISBN 9780955091407.
  14. ^ Wild, Lesley (November 2007). Year of Family Recipes. Great Northern Books. ISBN 9780955091414.
  15. ^ "Who Was Betty? Book". Bettys. Retrieved 27 September 2018.

External links[edit]