Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Postcard Of The Week : Life Before Bettys




My vintage postcard this week features a picture of The Grove in Ilkley, Yorkshire. To readers who know this part of England, the street and buildings might be familiar as today it is the site of the Ilkley branch of the famous Bettys Tea Rooms. However the picture featured on the card (which was published by the Ilkley stationer, M A Procter) pre-dates the arrival in England in 1919 of Frederick Belmont, the Swiss founder of the Bettys chain of tea rooms and shops. It is worth clicking on the above picture to enlarge it as there are some wonderful details visible in the photograph which must date back to the early 1900s. Nobody is quite sure why the tea shop (and later the chain of shops) was called Bettys :  there are several fascinating possibilities described on the Bettys website. The website is worth a visit as it contains lots of mouth-watering information. An up-to-date photograph of The Grove shows that whilst the shop frontices may have changed, the basic structure of the buildings remains the same.



I think the postcard (which has not been postally used) comes from my own collection rather than that of Uncle Fowler, but by now the two are inseparably blended : like a good Yorkshire tea.

19 comments:

  1. Alan, both photographs show a lovely street, but I prefer the older one. What does that say about me?

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  2. It really is amazing how much the street looks the same after all these years. I like that your collection and Uncle Fowler's have become blended like a good tea!

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  3. That is a wonderful postcard. It really is fascinating to see such a clear view of the time. Your card is still in good shape. I will check out the website and it will make my Barnes and Noble coffee shop be very dismal. It is time to go get some tea and cakes soon.

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  4. My God - looks all the world liike Southport, my adopted hometown when we came to the UK.

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  5. Oh, I love Betty's - when I can afford it! Ilkley was a classy place in Edwardian times too, by the looks of it.

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  6. So what you're saying is soon there will be a motley queue outside the new Bettys?

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  7. How fabulous - is that the same tree? I love the old postcard - what ambience with the ladies in their long skirts...
    I've never been to Betty's. Never been to Ilkley for that matter, with or without a hat. But now I am hankering after a nice cup of tea and a scone...

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  8. This is very nice! What a contrast from the old photgraph to the shiny new web page. Looks like the good quality of tea has made it through the years.

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  9. Beautiful postcard - I love the "costumes" of that era. Would hate to have to wear them however...

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  10. Well, I certainly enjoyed browsing the Betty website! Beautiful tea rooms and I especially love all the attention to detail. Lovely! If I ever make it over there, Alan I insist you and the Mrs. take me to tea...my treat! ;)

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  11. Alan,
    This is way too cool. This reminds me of a book at our local Barnes & Noble store featuring pictures of the same areas in Indianapolis, IN years ago and present. I enjoy your postcards of the week and your sepia pictures. Willow has a great collection of family sepia photos... she is our family's genelogy QUEEN! Thanks for sharing, Alan, its great stuff! :)
    The Bach

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  12. Another nifty post. I always love looking at "then and now" posts, even of places I've not visited.

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  13. This is definitely a destination for my next visit to Yorkshire, which I hope will be soon! Thanks for the link to Betty's website!
    Great photos. I too enjoy the Sepia Saturdy idea and following the posts of those who participate!
    Excellent topic!

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  14. Oh thank you. Another time. Another world (for me at least).

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  15. That is a really intriguing contrast--the big change in the building seems to be change from the awnings to a more contemporary entrance.

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  16. love the comparison...while so much has chnaged, so much...

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  17. Thank you for the link! I am now dreaming of the Bettys Winter Specialties Menu...

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  18. How elegant it was in those days and how nice and empty the roads.

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  19. I have often thought I should have been born in the 19th century (as a scullery maid, perhaps, since I don't shy away from housework).

    This is such a wonderful postcard and makes me wish I had a Tardis to transport myself directly to that street and sample some of the Yorkshire blend of which you speak.

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