Eleven photos that show the glamour and elegance of Bettys in its golden Yorkshire heyday

The Bettys brand is an icon of Yorkshire - and the tearoom has now been serving fat rascals and exquisite cakes for a century.

Bettys in  Harrogate today
Bettys in Harrogate today

Bettys opened its first branch on Cambridge Crescent in Harrogate in the summer of 1919. Swiss baker and confectioner Frederick Belmont, who had sought his fortune in England, was able to open the shop thanks to the financial support of his English wife and her family, whom he had lodged with before the marriage. The business thrived, and a bakery was developed to supply cafes in Leeds and Bradford. In 1937, he took the brazen step of opening a Bettys on St Helen's Square in York - right opposite chocolate giant Terry's own cafe. During the war, Bettys in York had a cocktail bar that was hugely popular with servicemen, and they even managed to argue against the building being requisitioned by the army. They had to cut their product range due to rationing and most luxury fancies were unavailable. More change came in the post-war years. An espresso bar in Leeds had to be closed because of trouble caused by mods and rockers. But the purchase of former rival Taylors in 1962 enabled the brand to take over the Cafe Imperial on Parliament Street in Harrogate. The site became a Bettys in 1976 and remains there today. A former Taylors tea kiosk in Ilkley also became a Bettys, while the firm later withdrew its presence from Leeds and Bradford to focus on genteel country towns.

Bettys staff in the 1940s
Bettys staff in the 1940s

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall visit the Bettys bakery
RAF veteran Geoff Sanderson, 88, is the most popular patron of Bettys in Harrogate, where he eats several times a week at the same table. He likens the tearoom to a London gentlemen's club on The Strand
The first Bettys was on Cambridge Crescent in Harrogate
Bettys in Harrogate in its early years
The bar and Bettys in York was a popular meeting place during the war