Free tea and cake for old china

Mary Exelby with the start of Kiplin Hall Tea Room's china collection. (s)
Mary Exelby with the start of Kiplin Hall Tea Room's china collection. (s)

Guests of Miss Bridget Talbot, who visited her at her North Yorkshire home, Kiplin Hall, in the 1960s were served tea on an assortment of old and mis-matched crockery.

Mary Exelby, tea room manager at the 17th century hall, is keen to revive this practice and is appealing for people to donate china for use in the award winning tea room.

Mary, an excellent cook and baker, who produces all the food for the tea room in the kitchen at the hall, is offering tea for two in return for donations of cups, saucers, tea plates, dinner plates, teapots, sugar bowls, cream and milk jugs, cake and sandwich plates.

Mary said: “This might not be the proverbial free lunch, of which, as we all know, there is no such thing, but it is definitely a free tea in the form of a pot of Mad Hatter tea and two portions of home-baking.

“This is a really special place to eat. Where else can you take tea or enjoy lunch in a room like this? The oak panelling and plasterwork ceiling were put in place in the 19th century, and the portraits gazing down from the wall date from as far back as the 1660s, and even include royalty!

“I would like the china to complement the special feel of the room. It just isn’t possible to buy china of this age and quality in bulk, so we came up with the idea of offering tea in exchange for plates. We’re really looking for china plates and cups up to the 1960s, the sort your granny might have used.”

Take your china plates to Kiplin Hall between 10am and 4pm on any Sunday, Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday in March, and receive your free tea. For more information, visit the website www.kiplinhall.co.uk or telephone 01748 818178.