Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Tea room guide highlights the plight of our high streets

Tea room aficionado Joe Ellis' English Tea Room Tour Part 2 has revealed a startling trend for what is regarded as an English institution.

Joe Ellis, founder of Joe Ellis' Tea Room Guide and www.tea-room-guide.org.uk, toured 16 tea rooms around England but was only able to review 11 as five had been forced to shut down. 

Joe said: "It is heartbreaking to see these tea rooms either boarded up or replaced by fast food take away outlets. Sadly, this often happens due to circumstances outside the tea room owners’ control. It is endemic. English tea rooms up and down the country are struggling to survive, and yet each tea room is unique in its own way. 

"The High Streets of England are fast becoming mirror images of each other, with the same shops, restaurants and bars. The tea room is one of the last bastions which can give a town, village or city something different."

Harriett's Café and Tea Room, Peterborough
Photo from Upland Wolf Photostream.

On Joe's tour, he reviewed and awarded a recommendation status to each tea room he visited, with Harriett's Cafe and Tea Room in Peterborough being 'highly recommended,' nine other team rooms being awarded 'recommended' status and one picking up the Not My Cup of Tea (formerly 'moderate') ranking. 

Joe established www.tea-room-guide.org.uk to help and profile English tea rooms and what they provide to the community. He has visited been visiting tea rooms since the 1970's and a book entitled Joe Ellis' Tea Room Guide: A Guide to English Tea Rooms is soon to be published. 

Joe adds: "While there is a serious side to the plight that our tea rooms face, the idea of the website and the guide is also supposed to be a fun experience. We have a musical slide show of the tea rooms I visited appear on the website alongside full reviews with photographs. The site also offers short film clips of recommended and highly recommended tea rooms, including our first break into the 'movies' with Miss Mollett's High Class Tea Room in Appledore, Kent."

Joe's aim in 2011 is to make as many film clips as possible of English tea rooms, which will appear on www.tea-room-guide.org.uk and posted on YouTube. Joe hopes he will assist in their survival.

The next issue of Time for Tea magazine, (ISSN 2043-7161) is in full colour and free. It will feature tea rooms from tours one and two, tea features and many more interesting articles. 

For a free copy of Time for Tea, visit 


For more information, contact:
 Joe Ellis’ Tea Room Guide
, PO Box 262, 
Herne Bay, 
 CT6 9AW. 
Telephone: 01227 376180 or 
e-mail: admin@tea-room-guide.org.uk

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