urban75 blog

Old Tea Rooms, Museum Street, London WC2 [updated]

It may be long closed, but the frontage of these old Tea Rooms in central London is still (just about) hanging on to life.

Situated close to the British Museum at 11, Museum Street, London WC2., the cafe opened in 1960 and closed some 40-odd years later, with the building remaining empty ever since.

Once frequented by the likes of Diana Rigg, Bamber Gascoigne, Patrick Moore and George & Gilbert, the cafe was run by a husband and wife team.

After the the husband died, his widow continued the business – with her customers “helping with her bereavement” – and the cafe closed for good when she retired.

These two photos from niznoz document the decline of the tea room during the mid 2000s.

In this April 2003 view the cafe appears to have just closed, with tea cloths covering the urn and surfaces inside. Note the different sign above the shop and the boutique next door.

By January 2005, the shop is boarded up, and the sign has gathered an extra layer of dust. The battered Coca Cola  sign remains and the central top window has been partially boarded up.

Although I like to think of myself as something of a cafe aficionado (I’m still lamenting the loss of the New Piccadilly cafe!) I never made it to this one.

Did any of you lot out there ever visit the place? Please write in if so!

Update: here’s a film of the cafe in action. It’s rather sad.

Update 2: some photos from 2001

[Thanks to niznoz and Spudsonic for Flickr pics]

[Google map link]