Beatons Chester: Ringing Bells for Gracious Hospitality

Here at Beatons Chester we ring the bells of service every day 364 days a year - as indeed every Beatons does. We're Steve and Elaine and as Tearooms Owners it's our pleasure to welcome you to this online glimpse of what we're all about: to me summed up by 'gracious hospitality'.

To find us, head for the Cathedral Bell Tower in Bell Tower Walk. Celebrate the wonderful City of Chester with a pot of our house blend, the deliberately chosen 'Dong Ding' loose leaf tea and a large slice of our signature carrot cake from our bell shaped domes. In fact, if you'd like to hear the Cathedral bells on a Sunday afternoon we're the perfect place!

Full contact and location details here.

We always like to give potential visitors a snap-shot of interesting places about the community we find ourselves in. Chester is quite a City. First and foremost, Chester Cathedral are our kind and long established neighbours.  Chester's also home to a zoo, boasts the only circular racecourse in the world, the only strange phenomenon of the black and white 'Rows' and has the only female beadle to keep order! It's also the only Beatons to be located in a City...

Many people across Cheshire and as far afield as Manchester and Birmingham come to Chester for a special day out. Our three tiers of deliciousness in the shape of our Quintessential Afternoon Tea makes it really memorable. And gives you time to rest 'shoppers' feet'!

Why not make a date with your tastebuds and book Afternoon Tea with us so you can really enjoy everything Chester has to offer and know you've factored in a restorative break?

Steve and Elaine Roberts
Franchise Business Owners

#beatonstearooms: Beaton pops up everywhere!

On a rare day off from 'thinking Beatons' yesterday, Chris and I headed off to a National Trust property, Benthall Hall in Broseley in Shropshire... But it seems Cecil Beaton's ghost had other ideas!

Benthall is one of those lovely small 'lived in' houses - reminding us slightly of Croft Castle (a favourite). Noticing some books in the library marked Old Vic, and with my 'Mr Darcy' being an actor, we asked about them and discovered that Michael Benthall (then deemed black sheep of the family on account of being gay) was Director of the Old Vic (53 - 62) and had been presented with the three volumes about the productions during his period of office when he retired.

Thanks to the very helpful volunteer who offered to let us see inside one of the volumes.

Imagine our delight and surprise, when the page he turned to had that unmistakable signature and unmistakable touch of hand: Beaton

And it turns out Michael Benthall was Director when Cecil Beaton designed the costumes for Love's Labours Lost!  We were allowed to take this picture and just wanted to share it. 

This would be good day trip out from Beatons Chester

#Blandford : 'Mischief Making' Fay Weldon In Conversation!

Photo Credit I Bella West
I must be one of Fay Weldon's newest (if not youngest) fans.

And I may become one of her noisiest as we are both singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to the pleasure holding books in your hands and the conflict of the e-book! But first, things first - let us invite you to meet her.

One of the perks of being House Poet for Beatons is getting occasional review copies - and stealing from the blurb from Fay's publishers, Head of Zeus, about her latest book - 'Mischief'... they say, 'Now, here is Fay Weldon in her own words.'

'Of course, they're talking about reading her words, but if you come to Beatons Blandford Forum one Sunday in mid-March you can HEAR Fay, indeed meet her - thanks to some superb organisation by Helen Cooper - at an event in aid of the Corn Exchange Challenge to raise funds for Blandford's Regeneration Project

What:      Fay Weldon in Conversation
                 ... and of course reading and signing copes of her new book, Mischief

When:    Sunday 22nd March 2015, 4.30 to 6 pm

Cost:       £6.99 per person (limited numbers)
               This also entitles you to £2 off the cover price of Mischief!
                (note: tea and cake NOT included in ticket price!)

Tickets:  From Beatons Blandford, Blandford TIC, the Council Offices
               or by e-mailing:

Jacket Design by Charlotte Jade
Mini-Review Number 1: Before I spread some Mischief, can I just mention that I'm fingering the hardback edition and that I want to SCREAM very loudly that it has THE most stunningly beautiful jacket by illustrator, 'Charlotte Jade' as you can see (in what I think is tea-spill-free material). For the vibrant matching turquoise end papers and greyscale title pages and introduction the designers at Head of Zeus Publishing have to be applauded.  See Fay's quote at the end about the aesthetics of paper - it really is a book to treasure.

So, to the contents of Mischief!
It includes a new novella - 'The Ted Dreams' which has me fighting off my own as I try to read just one more page before going to bed... and four decades' worth of short stories. Of these, I've indulged in  'A Gentle Tonic Effect' so far (very occupied with Beatons Chester launch preparations at the mo). So glad that's where my fingers landed. It's wicked, brilliantly crafted - eight un-put-downable pages multi-layered with uneasy truths about the human psyche. And a must for all therapists and counsellors to read!

I'm enjoying the book enough to have earmarked it for a full review in our Summer Reads feature in July.

Oh, and I am green with envy for all you lucky Dorset and Wiltshire fans who are snapping up tickets. I can't make the event - and nor will you unless you get your tickets quick!  But who knows, may be my path will cross with Fay's and we can share a pot of Beatons Brew together.

In the meantime, I leave you with a snippet of 'Fay Weldon in her own words':

 'And then the e-book came along, the naked text without the frills of publisher's advocacy, jacket, blurb, writer's photo: Look at me! Read this book! ... 'Good' writing is so much to do with an aesthetic, with a resonance of language which is more apparent on paper than on a screen.'  

Ironically, 'The Ted Dreams' was published as an e-book before going into this volume - and it's so plot-rich that it no doubt sings from the screen in its nakedness. However, give me a physical book to contemplate upon, feel, finger and slowly relish undressing every time...