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Independent baker Sarah McMillan set to reopen Stratford-upon-Avon landmark Hathaway Tea Rooms



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More good news from the high street, as local landmark Hathaway Tea Rooms is being given a new lease of life.

Over the last few months there had been a for sale sign up and scaffolding in place, and fears were that the iconic café, which has been in place since the early 20th century, would disappear.

However news emerged this week that baker Sarah McMillan, who runs independent business When It’s Scone It’s Gone, is taking over the tea rooms – and keeping the Hathaway name – and is planning on opening in the next few weeks.

Sarah, who lives in Warwick, told the Herald: “I have been looking for a retail position for many years on Stratford High Street or in the town.

Hathaway Tea Rooms in 1966. (43652512)
Hathaway Tea Rooms in 1966. (43652512)
Rider's and Hathaway Tea Rooms pictured around 1948. (43652514)
Rider's and Hathaway Tea Rooms pictured around 1948. (43652514)

“I have a bakery in my garden in my home and sell food at festivals, markets and online. That’s been fantastic but because of Covid and the times that we are in I really wanted to get a more fixed place where I could sell to the public and just to continue what I really love doing.

“Hathaway Tea Rooms is an amazing name in the town, and we are excited to be in the town.”

Number 19 High Street, where the tea rooms are located, is a 17th century house owned by John Kingsley, who also owns 20, home to Rolys Fudge. He said that he would still be putting the freehold up for sale on both houses, even though they have been in his family since the 1930s, when his grandfather established a boot-repair business and the tea rooms.

John told the Herald: “Having now reached my 75th birthday, I'm not as good as I was at doing the maintenance work. and our son has his work cut out with two youngsters and a house-move imminent. We also suffered a structural problem at number 19 during August which has not yet been repaired, and which is causing us to have one of the smaller dining rooms closed for the moment, although I hope we will be making progress again soon.”

Three generations: Owner of numbers 19 and 20 High Street John Kingsley, graddaughter Pippa and son Ian pictured at Hathaway Tea Rooms in 2016 (43652510)
Three generations: Owner of numbers 19 and 20 High Street John Kingsley, graddaughter Pippa and son Ian pictured at Hathaway Tea Rooms in 2016 (43652510)

Describing her age as “north of 50”, Sarah said she had learned baking all her life since being taught by her grandmother. She said they would be offering a traditional tea room and bakery at the front of Hathaway’s, but also “a touch of Tudor”.

She explained: “We will be serving modernised Tudor food on a traditional trencher (a sort of plate) with handmade crockery. It will be something slightly different.”

While other local bakers have found success with signature sourdough bakes, Sarah is confident her speciality, a giant baked cheesecake, will get customers coming through the doors.



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