Glasgow & West Scotland

Glasgow's Willow Tea Rooms to move from Mackintosh building

Anne Mulhern and The Willow Tea Rooms Image copyright Watt Brothers
Image caption Anne Mulhern runs The Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street

Glasgow's Willow Tea Rooms is to leave its Charles Rennie Mackintosh designed building in Sauchiehall Street.

The building is to close for a two-year refurbishment after being taken over by the Willow Tea Rooms Trust in 2014.

The Willow Tea Rooms inside, however, is a separate business and will not re-open there when the revamp is complete.

Its owner, Anne Mulhern, confirmed she would be recreating the Tea Rooms, which she has run since 1983, inside the nearby Watt Brothers store.

The Sauchiehall Street building and interiors were designed by Rennie Mackintosh and built in 1903 for Kate Cranston, who ran several tearooms in the city.

Image copyright Watt Brothers
Image caption The interior of the Willow Tea Rooms will be recreated at the Watt Brothers department store

Ms Mulhern transformed the Tea Rooms back to their original use in 1983 after the building had been used as a retail unit.

She did not own the building, however, which was acquired by the Willow Tea Rooms Trust in 2014.

The trust now aims to close the building on 22 June for a two-year refurbishment which aims to restore the structure to its former glory.

Devastating closure

Ms Mulhern, who also operates the Willow Tea Rooms on Buchanan Street, said it was necessary to move to secure her business.

"When we found out that the repairs to our existing building meant that we would have to close for two years, we were devastated," she said.

"We still have the Willow Tea Rooms in Buchanan Street but were keen to open near Sauchiehall Street and secure the jobs of our fantastic staff.

"It's great that we can remain open with the same staff, same menu, same interiors and same great waitress service - just a few blocks down the street."

Image copyright Google

Ms Mulhern said the Sauchiehall Street Willow Tea Rooms would be recreated on the third-floor of the nearby Watt Brothers department store.

It is hoped that the new premises will be ready for customers in July.

Watt Brothers, which has operated as a family-run business in Glasgow since 1915, is located at the corner of Sauchiehall Street and Hope Street.

Managing director Willie Watt said the addition of the Willow Tea Rooms to the Glasgow store would work for both businesses.

He said: "We are a company proud of its history and we're particularly pleased to be working with Anne and her team in including a high-quality, prestige tea room which will complement both our business and the Willow Team Rooms' business which pays tribute to one of our city's great architects.

"What could be more appealing for shoppers than a stop-off in our store where they can enjoy a cuppa and some fine food?"

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