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Bettys Café Tea Rooms Clanmother Thursday Doors York

Teatime at Bettys Café Tea Rooms

The Secret of Happiness

Our treats brighten even the dullest day and are perfect presents for the people you love.  We make them because a little deliciousness makes the world a happier place – it’s really no secret at all. Bettys Est 1919

York, UK May 17, 2017.

It rained all day – the warm rain of the spring season.  Everyone we met during our stay in York said that we must visit Bettys for afternoon tea and order The Yorkshire Fat Rascal® known for being plump and fruity.   

Bettys Stonegate is situated in medieval Stonegate, one of York’s historically attractive and architecturally varied streets.  It is hard to imagine that a mere six feet below the pavement that took us from York Minster, where we had attended Evensong, to Bettys, resides yet another street dating back to Roman times – Via Praetoria

The fresh bakery aroma welcomed us into Bettys tearoom where the soft clatter of teacups and cutlery blended with voices and laughter to create a cozy atmosphere.  We were seated at a window table that looked across brick buildings with long-used chimneys to the towers of York Minster.

Opening day was 17th July, 1919, and now came a time of ‘either or’, ‘sink or swim’.” Frederick in a letter to his sister Ida, 4th February 1921

Bettys history began in 1907 when Fritz Bützer, a young Swiss baker and confectioner, left his home to travel to England, to follow his dream of establishing a business.  

“He spent his first night in the waiting room of Bradford station – penniless, jobless and unable to speak a word of English. Little did he know the great future that lay ahead of him and the extraordinary legacy that he would create.” Bettys Timeline

I encourage you to read Fritz Bützer’s extraordinary story: from the Alps to the Dales as you join me at Bettys tearoom for a cuppa of tea and a great conversation.

Thursday Doors

Welcome to Thursday Doors, a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link on Dan Antion’s blog post, No Facilities in the comments section, anytime between 12:01 am Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time).

Thursday Doors – Poster by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

By Rebecca Budd

Lifestyle Blogger, Visual Storyteller, Podcaster, Traveler and Life-long Learner

62 replies on “Teatime at Bettys Café Tea Rooms”

Oh, what a wonderful treasure, Mandy to have a Bettys tea canister. Tea canister symbolize times of friendships, conversations and homecoming. As Henry James wrote in AThe Portrait of a Lady, “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

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What a lovely post, Rebecca. You’ve made Thursday Doors into an art form. I’d love to sit and sip a cup of tea a Bettys and think about the 100 plus years of people before me enjoying the same small slice of Heaven on earth. Thank you for sharing this with us. As someone famous might say, it’s time to put the kettle on.

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Dan – I am enjoying the Thursday Door celebrations that allow me to explore new locations, customs, architecture, art – and the list goes on. What I most enjoy is the stories that come along with the locations. Fritz Butzers’ life was followed by one tragedy after another, but his determination and perseverance to follow a dream reminds me that hope is a powerful motivator. I came to York to complete research on Mary Parker Follett who was connected with Rowntrees chocolates. But that is another story….

Many thanks for the time and effort that goes into making Thursday Doors a stellar event.

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The “Rascal” was more than I could eat at one sitting. As everyone promised, this scone was delicious. I enjoyed reading the history of Fritz Butzer, who overcame many obstacles in his life and yet persevered. His mother died when he was an infant, his father died a few years later in a fire, his sister taken in by relatives but had no room for 5-year-old Fritz. Fritz returned to the village of his ancestors to be fostered by a local farmer who used him as unpaid farm labourer. And then moving to England without knowing the language. His journey was not for the faint of heart!

Our time at Bettys was more memorable because I read this back story. Thank you so much for joining me for a cuppa!

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I’m delighted that you joined me Tim! I’m watching the Father Brown series and everything there is a problem, everyone drinks tea. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said about tea: “Some people will tell you there is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in a chest of tea.”

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I find poetry, sentiment, and sediment in the beans, grounds, and aroma of coffee — strong and black as a moonless night.

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I am delighted that you joined me for a cuppa at Bettys. Our visit was in 2017. What I have since learned is that time is that Bettys Stonegate, known as Little Betty’s closed in 2021, but it big sister Bettys York on St Helen’s Square is still open and welcoming all to tea and delicious things.

This from Bettys website: “In spring 2021 we made the difficult decision to close the first-floor café at our Little Bettys branch in York while keeping the ground floor shop open. In the autumn, with a heavy heart, we took the further decision to close the shop and with it the branch.”

A reminder that we must relish the time of today more fiercely.

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You have just featured another one of my favourite places in the world. I first visited Betty´s Tea Rooms in 1977 when I went to York to get married. I bought my Dougal the Dog wedding cake there. (another story). We have visited many times since, the last being 5 years ago while celebrating our 40th anniversary. There is something about having tea at Betty´s. It is so civilized. A great video with the theme from Downton Abbey. Love it!

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I did not know your went to York to get married, Darlene! How serendipitous that our adventures seem to be in sync but only a few years apart. It is like we have passed each other in the hallway of time. Tea at Bettys is indeed the epitome of “civilized.” I was looking up the origin of tea houses and was not surprised that tea house first began in China, but there is more history to this story that I need explore. It seems that the tea house included jugglers, poets, actors, storytellers and opera singers. I continue to learn.

You must tell the story of the Dog wedding cake. Thank you for liking the theme music which came from Epidemic Sound (I have a creators license to use their fabulous music) and does seem to be the one for Downton Abbey.

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I love the way our lives intersect in so many ways. It is not surprising that like-minded people have common experiences. You may already know this but Betty´s Tea Room has been featured in a couple of movies. The one I remember is the wartime movie, Yanks. I remember watching the movie and shouting, I was there!

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I am delighted that Dan introduced me to Thursday Doors. At first, I didn’t think that I had that many photos of doors until I looked back into my digital photos and put “doors” in the search column. That was when I realized that doors are ubiquitous – so much a part of our daily interactions. We don’t take notice of their presence even when we open the doors. It reminds me that many times I have not recognized that I have opened and entered a life door until I looked back and recognize that pivotal moment. Thank you for joining me for tea – I always enjoy our conversations.

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Many thanks for joining me for a cuppa at Bettys. I discovered that “Yorkshire Tea”, a black tea blend produced by the Bettys & Taylors Group since 1977, is what I drank that day back in 2017. It is the most popular traditional black tea brand sold in the UK. They have two taglines:

1) Where everything’s done proper.
2) Let’s have a proper brew.

https://www.yorkshiretea.co.uk/our-teas

I was delighted to find that Yorkshire Tea is available in Canada. So I can close my eyes and take a sip of the “proper” Yorkshire Tea and find myself back at Bettys in York.

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HI Rebecca, I recognise that street and also have pictures of it. We didn’t visit Betty’s, we were to busy visiting the Harry Potter shop for Michael [haha]. There are some amazing places to visit in York. We saw Jorvik Viking Centre, York Castle Museum, Clifford Tower, York Chocolate Story and The Roman BAth in York.

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Hi Rebecca, I delved quite deeply into the history of the chocolate factories in York after that visit. It was really fascinating how those businesses developed and thrived. The tins of chocolate that Queen Victoria sent to the British troops in SA for Christmas during the 2nd Anglo Boer War came from York and there is an interesting history around it because the Quakers who owned these businesses were pacifists.

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I travelled to York to continue research the link between Mary Parker Follett, a brilliant intellect in managerial theory and Joseph Rowntree of Rowntree Chocolates. I had never heard of Mary Parker Follett before so this was a profound exploration for me.

Mary Parker Follett came to England from Boston, USA, in the early 1920s and immediately connected to those working on mutual societies and self-managed teams. She gave lectures to Joseph Rowntree managers and to a Rowntree sponsored series of workshops for works directors and foremen and women at Balliol College, Oxford. In 1932 she delivered the inaugural address to open the Department of Business Administration at the London School of Economics. She coined the phrase “win-win.”

One of my favourite Mary Parker Follett quotes is: “Give your difference, welcome my difference, unify all difference in the larger whole – such is the law of growth. The unifying of difference is the eternal process of life – the creative synthesis, the highest act of creation, the at-onement.”

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The pleasure was mine! I bet this was marvelous on person and we got a feel for it from each section of the post -Like The aroma you mentioned
Also – the video had a Downton Abby vibe to it ….
glad Fritz Bützer followed his dream

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Fritz Bützer life story reads like a novel. I cannot imagine how lonely it must have felt in that train station. I reminder to me to keep on going – you never know what’s around the next corner.

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York has so many stories that energize the streets wherever we went. Every step taken, I knew we were walking with history. I am delighted that you have continued on the #WarandPeace2022 Readalong. I have enjoyed this journey and am still creating updates to be posted at a later date. Many thanks for adding to my reading experience.

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Thanks, am halfway through War and Peace so may now take a pause. Yes, York has its own collection of stories. We know some of the Quaker one with Rowntrees and The Retreat which was a beacon for better mental health care.

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Betty’s sounds like a lovely spot, Rebecca. Your video of the treats is luscious as is the selection of music. My husband and I were just talking about the ancient Roman imprint on England and I can’t wait to explore the streets and shops and bask in a bit of history. Fritz’s story wasn’t quite so old, but it was extraordinary. 🙂

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I am delighted you shared a cuppa with me, Diana. York’s history is prodigious. There is so much that I have yet to explore and as serendipity is always alive and well, Don and I were discussing Roman history, specifically stoicism of Marcus Aurelius just this past week.

As it happened, I was exploring Gutenberg.org for the writings of Sir Walter Scott. And what came to my attention was “Roman Stoicism” lectures on the history of stoic philosophy by E. Vernon Arnold that dates back to 1911. I especially like this quote on the first page “We are learning to look on literature as an unveiling of the human mind in its various states of development, and as a key to the true meaning of history.” And while this was written in 1911, it still is relevant today. I continue to learn and learn and learn!!!

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I love that quote, and I wonder if “art reflecting the current state of the human mind” is part of the reason that some books fade from popularity and others turn into classics… based on whether they focus on the timeless aspects of the human condition or not.

I was just talking with another blogger about fairytale origins which are just gruesome, almost across the board, with rape, incest, cannibalism, beatings, murder, etc. Those are almost unknown now as our “human sensibilities” have changed. But at one time, they reflected the human mind and culture and were acceptible.

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