Gosport family keeps up tradition with vintage 1930s tearoom

Janet Buxton (left) and Sue Jones inside Dolly's Vintage Tearoom

Janet Buxton (left) and Sue Jones inside Dolly's Vintage Tearoom

A CGI of plans for Brunel House that were rejected in 2015

Anger as stalemate emerges over future plans for derelict Portsmouth building

  • Susan Jones and her niece Janet have opened a vintage tearoom in Gosport
  • They were inspired by Susan’s grandparents who owned cafes in the 1930s and 1940s
  • The tearoom has a 1930s theme
1
Have your say

THEIR family have been running cafes since the 1940s and now that tradition will continue.

Susan Jones and her niece Janet Buxton have opened Dolly’s Vintage Tearoom in Gosport.

We love all things vintage and thought the 1930s was an appropriate theme because of my grandparents.

Susan Jones

The 1930s-themed cafe was inspired by Susan’s grandparents Herbert and Matilda Smith who used to give tea and sandwiches to Second World War soldiers marching through Gosport ahead of the D-Day landings.

The couple then opened a chain of small restaurants in the town including London Cafe, in North Cross Street, and the Tudor Rose Cafe, in Forton Road.

Now Susan and Janet are following in their footsteps after opening their tearoom in Stoke Road earlier this month.

Susan, 64, said: ‘It happened on a whim. We saw an empty space and decided to open the tearoom.

‘We love all things vintage and thought the 1930s was an appropriate theme because of my grandparents.

‘They would give the soldiers waiting to get into the boats corned beef sandwiches and tea and then my uncle would run after them to get the mugs back.

‘After that they had a series of cafes and I am happy that we can carry on with that family tradition.’

The tearoom is decorated with 1930s memorabilia, including cups and saucers hanging on the walls, pictures of King George VI and his wife as well as newspapers and magazines from that era.

Music from the 1930s also plays softly in the background to add to the atmosphere.

Susan added: ‘People enjoy coming in and seeing all the memorabilia we have.

‘Customers like reading the old newspapers which are originals – it all adds to the atmosphere.

‘Since opening, we have been quite successful and people say they love the decor and the theme.’

Susan said customer service was important and the space they offer is something she wants to keep.

‘We could have an extra 10 tables in the cafe,’ she said.

‘But we want to make sure pushchairs and people in wheelchairs can have enough room.

‘We don’t want customers to be cramped and everyone has their own space.’

It is not only Susan, Janet and their grandparents who have opened up cafes in their family. Susan’s sister Jacqueline Wolf also had a tearoom in Gosport. She was the first shop owner in Gosport to ban customers from smoking.

Back to the top of the page