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Kate Cranston

Mitchell Library, Glasgow Collection

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Keywords: Scottish Exhibition of National History, Art and Industry, tea room owners, tea rooms, Willow Tea Rooms, women

Catherine Cranston (1849-1934), also known as Miss Cranston or Kate Cranston, was a well-known tea rooms proprietor.

Born into a Glasgow family which included several members with experience in the hotel and catering trades, Kate Cranston became one of the pioneers of the Glasgow tea room which became such a prominent feature of the city's social life. She opened her first tea room in Argyle Street in 1878, and went on to open others in Buchanan, Ingram and Sauchiehall Streets and, in 1911, at the Scottish National Exhibition. After the death of her husband in 1917, she sold her tea rooms and withdrew from public life.

Cranston insisted on high standards of cleanliness and service at her establishments. Her tea rooms had a special appeal for women, providing elegant surroundings at a time when well-to-do women were developing a taste for socialising without male company. She is perhaps best-remembered as a patron of the artists Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald, who designed the Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street.

Reference: Mitchell Library, Gf 920.04 WHO

Reproduced with the permission of Glasgow City Council, Libraries Information and Learning



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