3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2013
I honestly don't even recall buying this book. I was digging around in a box this weekend, and came across it. I decided to settle in next to an open window, blowing a breeze into my home. I discovered a most interesting history in this book. It is a historical reference of particular people, who about 138 years ago affected my life today. Stuart Cranston opened the first tea room at 2 Queen Street, Glasgow. "He had established himself in the tea trade, in which Glasgow was a serious competitor to London at this period. With an instinct for selling to the public, he began his own retail business in 1871. Always keen to educate the palates of his customers (he was a passionate China tea man himself), he kept a kettle by him to offer samples of his blends. In 1875 he hit upon the simple idea of charging for this tasting. He provided tables for 16 customers `elbow to elbow' at his shop and advertised a cup of China tea `with sugar and cream, for 2d [tuppence] - bread and cakes extra. Thus the tea room was born."
His younger sister, Kate Cranston took off with this idea and opened several of her own unique tea rooms. She was an eccentric, full-of-life, lady who did not conform. She hired young designers and architects she felt had potential. This book goes into great detail about them, their style, and impact on the Glasgow community. One in particular was Charles Rennie Mackintosh. She was his primary patron for the majority of his career and while customers found his work odd, they also found it exhilarating and fascinating. One thing that was so interesting was the design that accommodated different guests. There were billiard rooms, luncheon rooms, smoking rooms, ladies rooms and the design and décor accommodated each room individually. This was something my husband and I actually had mused about doing at one time - creating a sports bar, with adjoining tea room - so both husbands and wives could have a place. Who knew it had basically been done! I found the book to be interesting, certainly, and it gave me pause to consider the wonderful history of the tea room. The architectural detail isn't really my thing, but others may enjoy it. In the last 20 years, I have watched many tea rooms come and go in California, USA, and have loved my tea in (most of) them. Our economy has gone up and down, and finding that special staying power proves quite difficult for some. Miss Cranston seemed to have a great handle on it in her day, until such time as her beloved husband passed and she went into mourning; selling off her tea rooms and retiring. If you enjoy learning new and unusual things about tea and its history, I recommend this book.
5 out of 5 stars
Included: Recipes and A Tea-room Chronology of the book in the back
I purchased this book and am offering my honest opinion for no compensation.
August 12, 2013
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 3, 2008
Book arrived promptly in very good condition. Interesting, informative discussion of the relationship between Cranston and Mackintosh. Not interested in pastry receipes included.