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The History of The English Tea Room

At TQT, we love to create a retro vibe and provide a genuine English Tea Room atmosphere. We're on a historic site too, so visitors get the complete experience of stepping back in time (with a few modern essentials of course).



The history of English tea rooms is intertwined with the rich tradition of tea consumption and the evolution of British social culture. The concept of tea rooms, which emerged during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, was influenced by the Victorian era's growing emphasis on propriety, elegance, and refined social interactions. Here's a glimpse into the historical narrative of English tea rooms:


Origins: The tradition of tea drinking has deep roots in British history, with the introduction of tea to England in the 17th century. However, the concept of tea rooms as we recognise them today began to flourish in the late 19th century, parallel to the rise of the Temperance Movement. Tea rooms initially emerged as an alternative to public houses, providing a more genteel and sober social space for both men and women to gather and enjoy a cup of tea and light refreshments.


Victorian Influence: During the Victorian era, the proliferation of tea rooms gained momentum, primarily due to the increasing influence of Victorian ideals of respectability and the growing popularity of afternoon tea. These tea rooms served as elegant and tastefully decorated venues, where the working class and the middle class could indulge in a leisurely tea experience, often accompanied by delicate sandwiches, cakes, and pastries. The decor of these spaces often reflected the Victorian aesthetic, characterised by ornate furnishings, floral decorations, and a cozy yet refined ambiance.


The Interwar Period: In the early 20th century, tea rooms continued to evolve, becoming integral to the fabric of British social life. They offered an accessible and affordable respite for people during the interwar period, allowing them to enjoy a brief escape from the challenges of everyday life. With the emergence of women's rights and the suffragette movement, tea rooms became one of the few public spaces where women could gather independently and socialise outside the confines of the domestic sphere.


Modern Transformations: While the popularity of traditional tea rooms declined in the mid-20th century, the concept has experienced a revival in recent decades. Modern English tea rooms often combine elements of tradition and contemporary flair, catering to diverse tastes and preferences. Many establishments have adapted their offerings to accommodate changing dietary preferences, including the provision of gluten-free, vegan, and organic options. Today, English tea rooms continue to serve as inviting havens, preserving the essence of British culture and hospitality while accommodating the evolving needs of a modern and diverse clientele.


There we go, a little bit of interesting history about the English Tearoom – an experience that TQT is all about! Come and visit us soon.


The TQT team.


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