The Victorian Teashop

ancient Chinese teashop
The Chinese invented tea, then went on to produce the 'Chinese take-a-way' (noodles etc.). They could have just done take-a-away tea, like we do.

Chinese Take-a-way
Our version of a Chinese take-a-way.

Georgian Teashop
A 'Georgian' Teashop. The concept never really got out of bed.

Tea Graffitti
Eventually tea caught on and graffitti like this started to appear on walls all over Europe.

Jean-Paul SartreJean-Paul Sartre in his natural state, wondering whether to order tea or not?

Tea fieldTea in its natural state.

Tea Bags
Tea in bags – whatever will they think of next! These were soon enlarged and embelished with handles so they could hold all the groceries, not just tea.



The History and Philosophy
of The Victorian Teashop

The Victorian Teashop in Matlock Bath was the concept of existence and necessity – we needed a cup of tea while doing the renovation work upstairs for the Life in a Lens museum and got the idea for our own teashop. A place where not only we could drink tea, but visitors to the museum and the general public could drink it too.

We instantly realised this was a good idea because the famous French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre had once said to me: "Hell is other people – unless you make them tea!" Good advice indeed, but it took thirty years and Matlock Bath to sort it out. Existentialism works in mysterious ways.

Serving tea, amongst other things, now also serves as a 'meaning of life', which is handy. It also includes the all essential 'freedom of choice' for ourselves and our customers – we can choose to serve them or not – they can have milk and sugar, or not – or even go wild and choose a flavoured tea, such as Peppermint or Camomile.

Existentialist philosphy is all about the 'meaning of life 'over mere existence' – making choices, choosing paths – so we're not only in harmony with our own existence (so far as one can be) we have also given that choice to others.

Tea was invented in China thousands of years ago and spread in popularity all over the world like wheels and sliced bread.

Our building was constructed is 1861 and was a Victorian guest house with a shop where the teashop is now. Rumour had it that we were coming soon with our teashop idea and companies all over the empire began producing tea. Even though we were over one hundred years away from starting our project, the stock markets came up with the excuse for selling shares in our venture by calling them 'futures' – no one has ever looked back and we are proud here at The Victorian Teashop that all those years ago it was we that started it all – even though we didn't exist at the time. You just don't get more dedicated, or more forward thinking than that.

By the late 1880's in both America and England, fine hotels began to offer 'tea service' in 'tea rooms' and 'tea courts'. Served in the late afternoon, Victorian ladies and their gentlemen friends would meet for tea and conversation.

That can still happen, but now there's toasties – that's where the sliced bread came in.

For a slightly more accurate history of tea and many other facts aout it, you might like to log onto our "All About Tea" site at

The Victorian Teashop

114 North Parade, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, DE4 3NS England 01629 583325

Matlock Bath Web Cam | Life in a Lens Museum | Peter Hague | Matlock Bath Web Cam | Visit Matlock Bath |
The Matlock Bath Report | All about tea | e-brink | Photography | e-mail | e-mail aunty | terms of
use |