So - just who was Betty?

NADV. Bettys retail assistant Michelle Nelson takes a break from her duties to read 'Who Was Betty?' the new book filled with stories, poems and cartoons from Yorkshire authors, playwights and OBE's. 11021AR3pic1.
NADV. Bettys retail assistant Michelle Nelson takes a break from her duties to read 'Who Was Betty?' the new book filled with stories, poems and cartoons from Yorkshire authors, playwights and OBE's. 11021AR3pic1.
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THE name of Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms is known around the world - but its origins have been a mystery for many years.

The business was named by its founder, Frederick Belmont, in the early 20th century, but the reasons behind his choice were not recorded.

Since then several theories have been formed - including by the family which still runs the company, but does not know the secret behind the name.

Some have suggested the tea rooms were named after the late Queen Mother, Elizabeth Bowes Lyon, or Betty Lupton, the former manageress of the Harrogate Spa, who was crowned “Queen of the Harrogate Wells”.

Other suggestions are that it was named after a doctor’s daughter who died of tuberculosis, and whose father’s practice later became the first Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, or that the name came from a young girl called Betty, who interrupted the first board meeting where the name was being decided.

Now, a book has been produced suggesting who the original Betty may have been, with contributions from many famous Yorkshire names.

Proceeds from the book will be donated to the Yorkshire Rainforest Project, set up by the company with the aim of saving an area of rainforest the size of Yorkshire.

Who Was Betty? is filled with stories, poems and cartoons from people including Sir Alan Ayckbourn, Joanne Harris, Alan Titchmarsh, Kay Mellor, Barbara Taylor Bradford and Ian McMillan, with illustrations by York artist Emily Sutton.

It also boasts a foreword from The Prince of Wales, founder of the Prince’s Rainforest Project, and a contribution from family member Jonathan Wild, who retired as chief executive of Bettys and Taylors earlier this year.

Adding to the mystery, the book also includes an anonymous contribution which was slipped under the door of the tea rooms.

Janet Parker, manager of Bettys Harlow Carr, said: “We’ve been bowled over by the enthusiasm and support to date from customers for our Yorkshire Rainforest Project.

“We have great hopes that sales of the new book will raise over £40,000 towards our long term aim to save an area of rainforest the size of Yorkshire.”

The book is on sale now at all six Bettys Cafe Tea Rooms, and is available online at www.bettys.co.uk or by calling 01423 814008. Books are £5.99 each with all profits going to the Yorkshire Rainforest Project.

For more information, visit www.yorkshirerainforestproject.co.uk.