Noisy but tuneful neighbours will mark the official opening of an airy, elegant tearoom and bookshop next to Chester Cathedral.
Workmen are currently busy transforming the venue in Bell Tower Walk into the Beatons franchise which will open during next week with an open house event on Saturday April 18 in aid of two local charities.
The ‘Make a Dong Ding for Chester and Charity’ morning will see cathedral bell ringers pealing out a sequence aptly named ‘Dong Ding’ in honour of the oolong tea being served at the event. And news of the opening will also be rung out by town crier David Mitchell.
Event visitors can bell-ring for a donation, honouring someone special and inscribing his or her name on Beatons’ ‘Bell Tower Artwork’, whilst sampling Beatons’ signature Carrot Cake and Dong Ding tea. The session, from 10 until noon, will ring-in support for Cheshire Community Foundation and RASA (Rape And Sexual Abuse Centre).
For Liverpudlian franchisee Steve Roberts the venture will see his dream to own a tearoom become reality. Building on its operations in Wiltshire and Dorset – and with a Berkshire franchise brewing – Beatons Chester gives the company a national presence.
Steve said: “When I discovered Beatons, I found a place where you are made to feel special the moment you walk in. With loose-leaf teas, home-made cakes and light meals plus a book selection designed to amuse and delight, it’s a magic formula. ‘I want to do this,’ I thought, and 15 months on, we’re preparing to open in the historic city I’ve loved for so many years.”
Beatons says its hotel-standard table service at ‘high street’ prices and a look inspired by society photographer Cecil Beaton are likely to appeal to Chester’s style-lovers, students and those seeking ‘gracious hospitality’.
The combined tearooms and bookshops group – conceived by MD Patrick Duffy – has successfully positioned itself to fill the gap in the retail book market as high streets rue the loss of independent bookshops, something Chester has suffered from in recent years.
Chester has also captured the imagination of Beatons House Poet and best-selling author, Liz Darcy Jones, commissioned to write a poem in honour of the city. It will have its first reading at a private Launch Soirée held prior to the open house event at which Jazz Alchemy Duo will play.