September 1898: Cranston’s New Tea Rooms – 13 Renfield Street

An article on page four of the North British Daily Mail, on Tuesday the 20th of September, 1898, reads:




The most experienced in travel are ever ready to admit that no city affords so many opportunities for enjoying

a well set dinner or tea as does the city of Glasgow. Writing with a dearly bought experience of most cities in at

least Britain, and what is popularly known as the Continent, it would be absurd to try and controvert the large

statement. London, no doubt, is vigorously following up, Edinburgh is making a praiseworthy effort to entertain

her visitors to a pleasant cup of tea, and even Paris—where coffee or bock used to reign supreme—has within the

past eight months started two or three ‘English’ tea rooms. One of the latter we visited last month, and after an

inspection of Cranston’s latest Renfield Street rooms yesterday, one can understand why the French imitators have

not designated themselves ‘Scottish Tea Rooms.’  Entering the new branch of Cranston’s tea rooms at 13 Renfield

Street, the visitor at once gets a sense of light, space, height, and airiness. To the right is the dry tea department

and office, on the left are the confectionery and Japanese counters.  Opposite the entrance is a broad and handsome

staircase leading to the ladies’ tea room, reading room, lavatories, and dressing room; and branching off from this

staircase is a short flight leading to the smoke room. These are situated under the pavement, and are flooded with

light. The sanitary arrangements are very perfect in construction. At the back of the principal staircase is the service

counter for the general tea room, and there is a spacious saloon on the ground floor. The ladies’ room and smoke

room have their own service counters, and all three are in direct communication by means of hoists, with a large airy

stillroom in the basement. Entering off the stillroom are the ice-cream room, linen room, kitchen, dining hall, and

dressing room and lavatories for the tea room staff. The principal room is lighted on three sides by large windows, and

from above by a cupola. The smoke room is lighted on four sides and the ladies’ room on two sides, and all are decorated

by a pleasing combination of birds and flowers in bright and delicate colouring of old gold, maize, and buff, which is

enhanced when seen under a brilliant electric installation of five cluster lamps, softened by large opalescent shades,

which are suspended from the ceiling by a novel arrangement of large brass rings in chain. The premises will be heated

in winter by a large furnace boiler and battery on the low pressure system, and hot water pipes diffuse the heat throughout

all the rooms, and the air is warmed while passing through the battery. In summer the air will be cooled by passing over

large blocks of ice, and at all times before admission it is washed and purified by passing through a ‘Blackman’ patent

screen of charcoal, 24 feet square by 10 inches thick, down through which there flows a constant stream of water cleansing

the air and carrying off all solid impurities. We believe this is the first screen of this nature that has been erected in Glasgow.

The cleansed air is then propelled by a ‘cyclone’ fan of four feet diameter, having three broad blades like a ship’s propeller and

open at the ends—wherein lies the secret of its value, of giving a direct forward movement with economy of power, claimed

for the ‘cyclone’ by its makers, Thomas Aimer and Sons, Galashiels. In Buchanan Street premises this dual system has

afforded great comfort. Only a few days ago when the thermometer in the shade registered 82 degrees, the temperature in

the various rooms was only 74 degrees, a striking contrast against say 88 in the sun, and here the freshness of the atmosphere

has always been the subject of remark and congratulation. The following are the contractors :—John Dick & Son, masons, 28

Bath Street; James Tait & Co., wrights, 138 Renfield Street; Hugh Twaddle & Son, plumbers, 179 Gallowgate; Alexander

Brown, plasterer, 46 Grafton Street; P. & W. Maclellan, iron and steel work, 129 Trongate; Kean and Wardrop, tile work, 167

Bath Street; James Combe & Son, heating engineers, 103 North Hanover Street; James Brown, 137 West Nile Street,

ventilating; Blackman Ventilating Company, Limited, 162 Hope Street, ventilating fans; William Ramsay & Co., gasfitters,

11 Jamaica Street; Alexander Burns, painter, Abbotsford Place, South Portland Street; Claud Hamilton, Limited, electricians,

247 St Vincent Street; Crossley Brothers, Limited, gas engine, 157 Hope Street; Thomas Aimer & Sons, ‘cyclone’ fan makers,

Galashiels; Thomas Hill & Co., engineers, 66 to 68 Robertson Street; Archibald Stewart & Co., Union Street, the highly

finished and comfortable furniture. This afternoon Lord Provost Richmond will formally open the new establishment.”




The British Newspaper Archive.




George Fairfull-Smith, June 2023.