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Bettys tea rooms celebrates its 75th anniversary
Staff from the Bettys café and tearooms in St Helen’s Square, York, gather for a picture to mark their 75th anniversary
YORK’S most famous café will today celebrate 75 years of serving the finest teas and cakes to visitors from York and around the world.
Lord Crathorne, the Lord-Lieutenant of North Yorkshire, will be guest of honour at Bettys tea rooms in St Helen’s Square, where he will join staff past and present for the landmark anniversary.
Lesley Wild, non-executive chairman of Bettys & Taylors, said founder Frederick Belmont would be very proud of his business today.
She said: “He would have been particularly delighted by the way in which Bettys has become so well loved the world over and, of course, that it is still a family business after 90 years. On the very special occasion of our 75th anniversary in York, I would like to offer my deepest thanks to the wonderful staff here and our many loyal customers who have contributed so much over the years to our continuing success.”
Opened in 1937, the main York branch employs more than 170 staff and serves about 650,000 people a year. More than 80,000 of its famous Fat Rascals are enjoyed every year and almost half of the café customers order a pot of tea.
Queues of customers waiting for a seat are a regular sight outside Bettys and such is the demand for afternoon tea, the first-floor Belmont Room has launched a new reservations-only service at weekends.
Art-deco inspired interior
Bettys tea rooms in St Helen’s Square was a furniture store before being bought by Bettys founder Frank Belmont in 1936.
Inspired by his trip on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary, Mr Belmont commissioned the ocean liner’s designers and shop fitters to create his dream grand café which opened in 1937.
Today, the art deco-inspired interiors can still be seen throughout the branch.
In 1939, the café was granted a liquor licence and became a haunt of airmen, who over the years engraved their names on the famous mirror in the basement bar.
In 1943, Mr Belmont successfully saw off attempts by the military to use the building as an administration centre – arguing that the café was an essential public service for York.
In 1970 the premises underwent a major modernisation scheme and by 1987, Bettys York was celebrating its 50th anniversary and 25 years since joining up with tea company Taylors. Now, as popular as ever, the café is celebrating 75 years of serving the people of York and visitors to the city.