Teatime with a Theme

The Blitz Tearoom & Jazz Lounge
The Coach House
Sheep Street • Kettering
01536 510070 • theblitz.uk

Imagine Britain during the Blitz of 1940 and ’41, with bombs falling on all major cities and ports, houses obliterated, and people scurrying down into air raid shelters as soon as the sirens sounded. It was a truly dreadful time for the entire country, but the nation was united in a spirit of defiance and determination to carry on and make the best of it. This little converted coach house is an absolute joy of a place and captures the best of the British attitude during those eight months of destruction with humor and a gentle, but truly powerful, nostalgia. With clever trompe l’oeil effects on the ceiling, the roof appears to have been blown off, revealing blue sky and white clouds above. From the rafters hang Spitfire planes, gas masks, and Union Flag bunting. On the walls are posters saying, “God save the king!” “Switch off that light,” “Life is like a cup of tea—it’s all about how you make it,” and an image of Lord Kitchener pointing at the reader and saying, “You are the man I want!” A coat rack is laden with uniform jackets and coats, tin hats, and the caps of Army, Royal Air Force, and Navy officers. Around the room stand old leather suitcases and 1940s Bakelite radios. The walls are covered with old adverts and original photographs showing groups of soldiers and sailors, fighter planes with their crews, and bomb sites where nurses and policemen are helping people from the rubble, while in the background, the Andrews Sisters sing “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” and other wartime favourites.

Teatime with a Theme
Photograph by Jane Hope.

The very clever menu is printed as a replica ration book, the small government-issue book that every family needed during the war in order to buy strictly rationed amounts of everyday staples such as bread, sugar, and tea. Inside the front cover is a photograph of Winston Churchill saying, “Let us go forward together!” and the very British foods listed include the Churchill High Tea with pork pie, corned beef sandwiches, and pickles, and the lighter Vera Lynn High Tea. The tea selection is excellent, and your chosen loose-leaf tea (no teabags in those days!) comes to the table in an infuser ready to pop into the pot. The milk is served in a cute, nostalgic, one-third pint glass bottle that takes any elderly Brit straight back to childhood. Unusual, clever, witty, nostalgic, and fun, this little tearoom quite rightly attracts a lot of attention.


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