The A.B.C. Tearoom
"More tea vicar?...."
The Aerated Bread Company (A.B.C) Ltd was founded by Dr. John Dauglish. A social reformer and sanitarian, Dauglish had earnt a medical degree at Edinburgh. After having been unimpressed by the Scottish bread of his day, Dauglish decided to make his own and studied the process associated with its production. Eventually he invented some new bread leavening apparatus in which the need for physical contact by the baker was drastically reduced, thereby limiting the risk of contamination (prior to this the dough was kneeded by hand and foot.) This new method of leavening, that did not use yeast, involved bringing together the flour (out of which the bread was to be made) and water saturated with carbonic acid gas (i.e. carbon dioxide). The flour and gas were then incorporated together under immense pressure and expanded into a spongy mass, thus producing a perfect dough ready for the oven.
Dr Dauglish then set up the Aerated Bread Company Ltd in order to cash in on his apparantly revolutionary invention. Another reason why the Aerated Bread Company is revolutionary is because of its chain of self-service tea rooms, the first of which was opened just two years after the company was set up. The idea for opening the tearoom is credited to a London-based Manageress of the Aerated Bread Company who got permission to put a commercial tea room on the premises after she had been serving tea and snacks to customers of all classes for some time. It is assumed the main reason the tea room was introduced was to subsidise the sale of the bread.
The tea room itself is located above the Aerated Bread Company main shop. To reach it, one must walk through the shop and up some stairs at the back. In the far corner of the tea room is a counter behind which a waitress stands. She is there to make up the tea pots as well as accept payment from customers. To her left is a display cabinet, with glass shelves inside, that holds the various cakes, breads and muffins on sale. The rest of the room is made up of dark-wooden tables with white tablecloths over them and dark-wood chairs around them. Small vases with a variaty of flowers in them have been placed in the centre of each table. Gaslamps protruding from the walls give the room a welcoming glow whilst three windows provide both natural sunlight and a glimpse of the wider city.
All are welcome to visit both the A.B.C shop and the tea room. Women are especially encouraged to visit as it is largely seen as one of the very few places which a lady may visit, without the accompaniment of her Husband, and still keep her respectable reputation in tact.
Served throughout the day
Earl Gray Tea with/without cream (single cup or pot)
Coffee with/without milk (single cup)
Small glass of watered-down ale.
Aerated Bread (several variaties)
Plain/currant scones with/without strawberry jam and/or cream
Slice of walnut cake
Slice of carrot cake
Slice of victorian sponge cake
AFTERNOON TEA MENU
Afternoon tea is traditionally served at 4:00pm but the following dishes are available from midday onwards. In this instance a pot of tea refers to either a small, metal teapot or a larger, porclain one.
Tea for one
A small pot of tea accompanied by a jug of cream (both enough for one cup) and a bowl of sugar cubes. Plain/currant scone with strawberry jam and/or cream. For alternatives/additions to the scone please see the basic menu above.
Tea for two
A large pot of tea accompanied by a jug of cream (both enough for four cups) and a bowl of sugar cubes. Plain/currant scone with strawberry jam and/or cream may be ordered along side the tea. For alternatives/additions to the scone please see the basic menu above.
Full afternoon tea
A large pot of tea accompanied by a jug of cream (both sized to suit the number of customers). Plain/currant scones with strawberry jam and/or cream. Victorian sponge cake sliced to suit the number of customers. Please note: Lemon cake or chocolate cake may be added to the order but are only served as part of the full afternoon tea option. Crumpets (with butter) and/or toasted English muffins (also with butter). Toasted teacakes may be ordered instead of/as well as the crumpets & toasted English muffins.