The story of Taylors of Harrogate is one to savor over a cup of our very best tea. Founded in 1886, CE Taylor & Co was a purveyor of the finest speciality teas – a range that has grown to offer teas including black tea, herbal tea, Earl Grey and fruit tea. Based in Yorkshire, Northern England, Charles Edward Taylor was a Quaker with two sons, Llewellyn and Charles. Both young men were sent to Ashby’s in London to learn the art of loose tea buying. Charles, the younger son, opened ‘kiosk’ tea and coffee shops with tasting rooms in Yorkshire’s booming, highly fashionable Victorian spa towns of Harrogate and Ilkley. Local guesthouse proprietors would visit regularly to purchase tea leaves blended to precisely suit their local water source.
Supremely popular, Charles expanded his tea and coffee empire, creating the genteel Café Imperial cafes in Ilkley and Harrogate then teahouses in Harrogate’s Valley Gardens, Winter Gardens, Royal Spa Concert Rooms and also Wakefield, Keighley and St Anne’s-on-Sea.
The Great War seriously injured Charles’ only son Douglas. Bernard, Llewellyn’s son, had a child by his actress wife whom the Taylors ‘adopted’ to give him a settled home. After leaving school and learning the tea trade at Ashby’s of London, he joined the family business and eventually became chairman in 1956. However, James was childless and, without an heir to the business, he decided to sell in 1962.
Legend has it that the café manager at local tearoom ‘Bettys’ overhead local businessmen discussing over tea how the Taylor family were considering putting their business up for sale. She saw the opportunity and excitedly informed Bettys owner Victor Wild. He didn’t want to lose tea and coffee business CE Taylor & Co to a competitor, so he made an immediate offer, which was accepted. The rest is history.
Today, all those fine traditions – buying premium quality teas from around the world and expertly blending them to create the very best tea – are upheld at Taylors of Harrogate. Not only that, but we’re proud to say that one of our creations, the Yorkshire Tea blend, has grown to become one of the most popular teas in Britain, and can now be found in stores all over the world.