Gunter's Tea Shop

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Gunter's Tea Shop in London's Berkeley Square had its origins in a food business named "Pot and Pine Apple" started in 1757 by Italian Domenico Negri. Various English, French and Italian wet and dry sweetmeats were made and sold from the business. In 1777 James Gunter became Negri’s business partner, and by 1799 he was the sole proprietor. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Gunter's became a fashionable light eatery in Mayfair, notable for its ices and sorbets.[1] In 1815, James sent his son Robert (1783–1852) to study the confectionery trade in Paris. Robert assumed sole control of the business following his father's death in 1819, and took on his cousin John as a partner in 1837.[2]

Gunter's was located at Nos. 7–8 Berkeley Square. When the east side of the square was demolished in 1936–7, it moved to Curzon Street. The tea shop closed in 1956, although the catering business continued for another twenty years.[3]

Along with Bolland's of Chester and W G Buszard, Gunter's was considered to be the wedding cake makers du jour and in 1889, made the bride cake for the marriage of Queen Victoria's granddaughter, Princess Louise of Wales.[4]

In Georgette Heyer's Regency Romance novels, Gunter's were mentioned frequently as the suppliers of refreshments and wines to the main characters' households.

In Mary Seacole's autobiography she states that even Gunter would have envied her reputation for the sponge cakes that she provided for the British army besieging Sebastopol in the Crimean War.

The shop is also the setting for a brief scene in Bernard Cornwell's novel Gallows Thief, taking place in 1817.


  1. ^ "Berkeley Square". The Georgian Index. March 2003. Retrieved 23 November 2007. 
  2. ^ Pennell, S. M. (2008). "Gunter, James (1731–1819),". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. 
  3. ^ Weinreb, Ben; Hibbert, Christopher; Keay, Julia; Keay, John (2008). "Gunter's Tea Shop". The London Encyclopaedia (3rd ed.). London: Macmillan. p. 365. ISBN 9781405049245. 
  4. ^ The Graphic Royal Wedding issue 2 August 1889