Glasgow Photo Library
- Willow Tearoom of Miss Kate Cranston

Willow Tearoom, Sauchiehall Street

The Willow Tearoom was created by the entrepreneur Miss Kate Cranston (1850-1934) in Sauchiehall Street - a name derived from "saugh" the Scots word for a willow tree and "haugh" the word for a meadow (which was later corrupted into "hall"). Originally, it was a winding, narrow lane, with villas standing in gardens of about an acre or so. It was widened in 1846 and is now a mile-long, broad street, running in straight lines, from Buchanan Street in the east to Kelvingrove and the Museum and Art Galleries in the west.

In the 19th century, Sauchiehall Street had a good number of tearooms for the benefit of thirsty shoppers and the most famous was the "Willow Tea-Rooms" (matching the name of the street) of Miss Cranston. The premises were designed by the architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, with elements by his wife, Margaret MacDonald. Mackintosh had designed three earlier tearooms in Buchanan Street, Argyle Stret and Ingram Street, but this was the first one in which he was the architect for both the exterior and interior of the building.

Nowadays, the ground floor is a jeweller's shop (selling among other items "Mockintosh" souvenirs, of course). But the first-floor "Room de-Luxe" of the Willow Tearoom has been carefully restored and many of its original features remain. All the furniture is, of course, reproduction.

In 1997 "The Willow" expanded into new tearooms at 97 Buchanan Street, next door to another of the original Miss Cranston tearooms. This features recreations of the original designs that Mackintosh created as the "White Dining Room" and "Chinese Room" for Miss Cranston's nearby Ingram Street tearoom. Since then, the "Miss Cranston" name has registered as a trademark by Bradford Bakers, an old-established Glasgow company and they have opened a new Miss Cranston's tearoom at 33 Gordon Street, with an adjoining shop selling high quality bread, traditional Scottish and continental baking, hand made chocolates and a range of teas, boxed biscuits and preserves. As a successful entrepreneur, Kate Cranston would no doubt approve of the way in which her name is being kept alive in Glasgow.

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