Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Francis Tea Rooms, Scarborough, UK...Mmmmmm!!!

I finally realized my dream of having tea in the Francis Tea Rooms in South Steet, Scarborough, above which my daughter used to live while studying abroad in 2004. I can't imagine any tea room in the UK being more authentic than this place--Toasted tea cakes, toasts of all sorts including Buck Rarebit, delicious chutneys, scones with cream and preserves, all on a quiet back street behind the Esplanade Gardens and South Cliff. The owner, Wendy, was wonderfully hospitable, and even sat down for a few moments to reminisce with us.

All of South Street is undergoing a transformation with art galleries and boutiques popping up all over the place (see below). We met some long-time residents of Scarborough outside The Francis one evening. They had lived there since childhood and even remembered when the beach was strung with coils of barbed wire during World War II, to protect against Nazi invasion. One of the ladies told us that South Street was THE place to live in Scarborough during her childhood and said, "Fisherfolk like us weren't even allowed to cross the footbridge leading up to South Cliff!" Now that's it's returning to its former glory, I'm glad she gets to enjoy it these days!


Anonymous said...

I worked here for a few glorious months until my work visa ran out. Wendy is the most amazing person on the planet, and Francis is the best place I've ever worked.

Did you know it used to be a hair salon owned by a Mr Francis? The booths were where the ladies went with their hair done up in scarves to be redone so they could have privacy. The hairstyles of the day required a lot of undoing and sometimes ladies had falls, "rats" (bundles of their own saved hair and ruined stockings) and wigs that needed tending to, so the booths were for discretion. The hairdresser would work his magic and they would leave with their new style set for the week!

When it became a coffee shop the doors were just taken off to make the private booths. The atmosphere is incredible.

Scarborough, UK via Saskatoon, Canada

Stacie Devos said...

I have lived in this area for 6 years and had not heard of The Francis Tea Rooms until my friend invited me for afternoon tea there on Thursday. Oh my goodness what a divine treat. I felt like I had stepped back in time and was expecting some dashing man in a trilby to pass me by. It is wonderful and very busy so you would be better making a reservation. I am planning on taking my hubby next week and will definitely take all my friends when the come to visit. I shall say no more, only this GO You'll love it.......