23rd
May
2013

Posted in Kafevend Blog

Having looked into the history of afternoon tea in a reference article some weeks ago, I feel that the enduring affection for this tradition merits a look, now and again, at some of the most well known locations in which it is served. The London-centric might expect me to start with the Ritz, while Northerners might cast their thoughts to Bettys Café Tea Rooms, but being based in the South West it's The Pump Room in Bath that I shall begin with.

Bath is a highly popular tourist destination, drawing in Jane Austen devotees who want to steep themselves in Georgian architecture, as well as those curious for anything Roman. The place oozes history in an elegant atmosphere and The Pump Room encapsulates those qualities to the full. It was built in the 1790s and features prominently in Austen's 1818 novel “Northanger Abbey” where it's a fashionable place for the well to do to meet and promenade. You can still drink spa water from the fountain and look down at the natural hot spring, the only one in the country.

Nowadays a traditional afternoon tea comprising delicate sandwiches, scones with jam and clotted cream, pastries and a pot of tea or coffee is served from half past two, or there's the option to push the boat out even further with a champagne tea. All this to the accompaniment of  music from a pianist or the Pump Room Trio, not to mention the architecture and décor, which all combine to produce a genteel ambience in which to wallow!

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