Records of Cranston's Tea Rooms Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland

Reference code(s): GB 0248 UGD 109/11
Title: Records of Cranston's Tea Rooms Ltd, Glasgow, Scotland
Date(s): 1938-1955
Extent and medium of the unit of description: 0.15 metres (3 volumes)
Physical characteristics and technical requirements: There are no physical characteristics that affect the use of this material.
Repository: Glasgow University Archive Services
Name of creator(s): Cranston's Tea Rooms Ltd (tea shops: 1903-1954: Glasgow, Scotland)
Level of Description: fonds
Language: English
Published by: Glasgow University Archive Services, 26 June 2002

Administrative/Biographical History

Catherine Cranston owned four tea shops in Glasgow, Scotland, at the beginning of the 20th century. The most famous of these were the Willow Tea Rooms at 217 Sauchihall Street. Completed in 1903, Cranston employed the architect and designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh to design the scheme for the shop. The tea rooms design was inspired by Rossetti's sonnet "O Ye, all ye that walk in Willow Wood" and which saw art and mysticism wedded to commerce for the first time. Mackintosh remodelled the structure of the building himself, formerly a warehouse, and designed the fixtures, fitting and even the cutlery.

The plain white front of the tearooms with chequered border made the shop stand out from its neighbours and the domestic-style leaded windows advertised the intimacy of the interior which was to suggest a willow grove. Spaces were patterns of receding, thin vertical lines using metal screens, wooden panels and the famous tall, ladderback chairs.

By 1938, the tea rooms at 43 Argyll Arcade, 28 Buchanan Street, Renfield Street and Queen Street were run by Cranston's Tea Rooms Ltd . The board of directors consisted of Michael Hook, George Borland and J Adair Mackie. The tea shops themselves were run by a general manager. In May 1950 , the Renfield Street shop was put up for sale and in 1954 the company went into liquidation and were late sold. The Cranston Tearooms, including the Willow Tearooms, were still a feature of Glasgow in 2002..

Source: John Keay & Julia Keay (eds.), Collins Encyclopaedia of Scotland (London, 1994)

Scope and Content

These records include no material relating tro Charles Rennie Mackintosh or Catherine Cranston but to the businesses later dealings from 1938 to its liquidation in 1954.

  • Minutes 1938-1955
  • Sales ledger 1938-1954
  • Day book 19472-1954

System of Arrangement

This material is arranged into series. Within series, the items are generally arranged chronologically.

Administrative Information

Archival History

Held by Deloitte & Touche, chartered accountants

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Permanent loan: Deloitte & Touche, chartered accountants: Glasgow

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information

This material has been appraised in line with normal procedures


None expected

Access Conditions


Copyright / Conditions governing reproduction

Applications for permission to quote should be sent to the University Archivist

Reproduction subject to usual conditions: educational use & condition of documents

Language of material


Existence and location of copies

No known copies

Further Information

Finding Aids

Digital file level list available in searchroom

Manual file level list available at the National Registers of Archives in Edinburgh (NRA(S)1546)

Existence and location of originals

This material is original

Related Units of Description

No related units of description

Material in other repositories: no material associated by provenance

Publication note

No known publications using this material


Date(s) of Description

Compiled by David Powell, Hub Project Archivist, 27 May 2002

No alterations to date