Betty's Tearoom - York, England
The story of Bettys doesn’t begin in Yorkshire but in Switzerland. In 1885, Anna Maria Bützer gave birth to a son, Fritz. Her husband, Johann, was a miller and master baker and they lived in a mill in Lindenbach near Bern.
Tragedy seemed to surround the life of young Fritz. His mother died when he was still a baby and a few years later a fire at the Bützers' mill left Fritz and his older sister Ida orphaned. While Ida was raised by relatives, they had no room for five year- old Fritz. As was the Swiss custom, he returned to the village of the ancestors where he was fostered to a local farmer who pledged to provide food and shelter and send him to school. In practice, Fritz spent much of his childhood working as an unpaid farm labourer.
As soon as he was old enough, Fritz left his foster home. He trained as an assistant baker and then travelled around Switzerland and France learning to be a confectioner and chocolatier. Then, in 1907 he decided to seek his fortune in England. On his arrival in London he realised he’d lost the address of his destination. All he could recall was that the place he was heading for sounded like 'bratwurst' (German for sausage). A helpful local put him on the train to Bradford. On arriving in the Yorkshire city, he found work at a Swiss-owned confectioners, Bonnet & Sons. Not long after he wrote to his sister Ida back in Switzerland saying, “Maybe I will stay a while….”
He eventually settled in the spa town of Harrogate by which time he’d changed his name to Frederick Belmont and styled himself as a ‘Chocolate Specialist’. It was in Harrogate that Frederick’s luck started to change. Looking for lodgings, he fell in love and later married his landlady’s daughter, Claire Appleton. In July 1919, with the financial support of Claire’s family, the first Bettys opened for business.