When Frederick Belmont opened the first Bettys tea room on Cambridge Crescent in Harrogate in July 1919 little could he have imagined where it would lead.
Now 100 years later the town’s most treasured and iconic business is preparing to celebrate a milestone which matters not only to the town but to anyone who appreciates elegant surroundings, high standards, warm-hearted hospitality and a good cup of tea - or coffee.
A century after Bettys founder, a young Swiss Confectioner named Frederick Belmont left the Swiss Alps and travelled to England with the dream of creating his own business, around a million people now visit one of its six Bettys Café Tearooms each year.
Bettys remains a family business and the family itself are deeply involved in a welter of anniversary celebrations planned for 2019 which will include special events, limited edition teas and treats and, wait for it, a new range of mini Fat Rascals to be called Cheeky Little Rascals!
Lesley Wild, chair of the Bettys board said: “I think if Uncle Frederick could see Bettys today he’d be very proud. I think he would recognise the business he started 100 years ago.
“We do our very best to hold true to the principles upon which he founded Bettys: creating beautiful food from the finest ingredients, using artisan skills and craft methods.”
Despite its reputation as a guardian of tradition, Bettys has always been happy to move with the times.
To that end, it’s also setting up a digital memory hub online for its customers to share their Bettys memories this year.
Simon Eyles, Bettys managing director, said: “This year is huge for us. It’s so exciting to be celebrating 100 years of this unique and iconic business.
“It’s about a warm Yorkshire welcome married with Swiss precision and attention to detail.
“Bettys has a very special place in the hearts of its customers around the world.
“We want to hear back from our customers, too, about their own history with Bettys.”
Its reputation has been built on doing things properly, which means making all its cakes, breads and chocolates by hand.
But it’s become more than a nice place to eat and drink.
As ‘Harrogate’ as the Stray, from a concept born in Switzerland, it has created a destination venue known and loved around the world.
The Harrogate Advertiser will be keeping readers up to date with all the Bettys celebration events throughout 2019.