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Where in the book? – The Teashop of Elaine Everest novels

  • Submitted: 20th March 2024

Where in the book? – The Teashop of Elaine Everest novels

Have you read the series by Elaine Everest about the girls who worked in the Joe Lyons teashops? Her series is set in Margate and Ramsgate so it’s a great place and series to learn about the history behind that teashop chain and what remains of it today….

Locations in The Teashop Girls at War

where in the book?

Locations in The Teashop Girls at War

J. Lyons & Co.  was a series of restaurants and hotels founded in 1884 by Joseph Lyons and his brothers in law, Isidore and Montague Gluckstein. The first teashop opened in Piccadilly, London in 1894, and from 1909 a chain that was the staple of any British high street soon followed. There were some 200 cafes at one point.

The Teashop Girls at War Elaine Everest

Locations in The Teashop Girls at War

By 1894, they were making their own cakes and pastries. Some you can still get today:

Battenberg Cake (c) Wikipedia

Locations in The Teashop Girls at War

As far as the public were concerned, , J. Lyons & Co. were best known for their chain of teashops which opened from 1894 and finally closed in 1981. There were Lyons Corner Houses in London.

Lyons’ Cafe in Reading, Berkshire, 1945 (c)Wiki

Locations in The Teashop Girls at War

What Elaine capture so well in these novels is the people who worked in them. During the war, the cafes were a welcome respite from the troubles and Elaine’s books looks at the shops through the ages. What was it like working in such an iconic place?

Before the Second World War girls who worked in the shops, wore uniforms and served customers at their tables.  They were known as ‘Nippies’. However,  after the war the teashops converted to cafeteria service.

Lyons corner house nippies

Lyons corner house nippies (c) Wiki

If you want to visit somewhere today that is very similar, or at least, in the same vein as the Lyons Corner House, there are branches of Betty’s Tea rooms in York and Harrogate.

You can visit a recreation of a Lyons tea shop in the Museum of London:

Lyons Corner House - Museum of London

Lyons Corner House – Museum of London

 

BookTrail Boarding Pass: Elaine Everest

Twitter: @ElaineEverest 

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