The ancient Roman market town of Marlborough has been a stopping point for weary travellers for generations as it is on the great road from London to Bath and Bristol. The Polly Tea Rooms first opened its doors in 1912 by two ladies, Miss Jean Leith Hay and Miss Janet McCloud (who was one of the original suffragettes). Tea rooms were a great safe place for these ladies to meet at the time. The building hasn't changed much since then, except a fire in the 60's destroyed part of the building. Some of the recipes for cakes, chocolate moulds and biscuit cutters from the 30's are still in use today. Our cakes are still the same as those Kate Middleton enjoyed during her school days at Marlborough College when she would visit The Polly Tea Rooms on Wednesday afternoons with her friends.
Roaming the Secret England of Betjeman
"I was brought up being diverted on every journey from anywhere to anywhere to look at a church, or a village, a canal tunnel or a grotto. As children my brother and I became wildly frustrated on our annual journey to the Cornish seaside which could sometimes take three days.
We stopped at The Polly Tea Rooms in Marlborough, (that was all right)"
Candida Lycett-Green (Sir John Betjeman's daughter)
"And in the Polly Tearooms, Marlborough boys
And Marlborough parents make a gentle noise
Consuming cakes and eatbales by the dozen:
Borthes, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins.
'Tongs for the scones? My dear, how quite delightful'
Not too much butter, for my figure's frightful'
And in the sweet relaxingnes of tea
The strain dies down and all is harmny."
From Sir John Betjeman's 'England'