Anita Atkinson, owner and founder of the Royal Museum and Tea Room, entered the record books in 2001 when she was deemed to be the owner of the largest collection of Royal memorabilia in the world.
Featuring the 2003 Guinness World Record book, Anita has been collecting memorabilia since 1977 and now owns more than 7000 items covering nine reigns from George lll (1760 to 1820) to our own Queen Elizabeth ll. Items include a cup and saucer from 1817 commemorating the death of the ‘Great British hope’, Princess Charlotte, daughter of the then Prince Regent and heir to the British and Hanoverian throne.
Anita’s knowledge of the history of the monarchy gained over 36 years of study is unequalled and she is able to recount dates, events and all manner of Royal trivia on demand! She will thrill her audiences with tales of her own experiences of royalty, her amazing skills in story-telling the tales of past monarchs and their families as well as the present day Royals.
The Royal Museum contains only half of her collection and is saturated with 3,500 items of memorabilia, including such obscure ones as bars of soap; medals, ladies compacts, watches, lots and lots of china, paper bags, newspapers, clothing, scores of books and magazines, framed pictures, figurines, cushions, keyrings, penknives, commemorative tins galore as well as some unique items such as the original newspaper from 1838 reporting the coronation of Queen Victoria. All of these items are on show for guests to handle, read, study and watch. There are Royal games for the children to play with, toys from the past that the adults will enjoy – including a View Master with photographs from Princess Margaret’s wedding in 1960!
Elsewhere, visitors will find themed china cabinets – the art deco china of the reigns of George V and George Vl; the cabinet solely dedicated to Charles and Diana; the collection of tea pots from six reigns; the five hundred Royal mugs covering five reigns that hang from the rafters of this former dairy where forty years ago, cattle were chained to the stalls while milking took place twice a day.
THE Royal Teas tea room is situated inside the Royal Museum and seats a maximum of 22 guests.
Visitors will eat and drink from commemorative bone china tea services from as far back as the ‘coronation’ of the uncrowned King Edward Vlll. Tea cups, saucers, tea plates, milk jugs, sugar bowls as well as cake plates and teapots are used from HM Queen Elizabeth ll Coronation, Silver Jubilee, Diamond Jubilee as well as the wedding of HRH The Prince of Wales and Lady Diana Spencer. Even some of the cutlery is royal!
Guests can expect to enjoy home-made cakes, choosing from chocolate, Queen Victoria sponge and lemon cakes; home-made scones – sultana or plain – served with clotted cream, home-made jam and butter. A selection of finger sandwiches completes the traditional English afternoon tea with fillings such as egg mayonnaise, ham and peas pudding, cheese and pickle, tuna and cream cheese and cucumber.
Tea room guests are able to enjoy unlimited refills of tea or coffee and although we defy anyone to be hungry after our ‘three-course’ afternoon tea, more cake, scones or sandwiches can be ordered at no extra cost as long as supplies allow!
We can also provide hot chocolate, cold drinks or a selection of fruit teas, peppermint tea and Earl Grey.
Royal Teas is only open, however, to groups of no less than eight people and allows the group exclusive access to the museum and tea room. Your hostess, Anita, will offer a humorous talk about the history of the British Monarchy and some of her own ‘Royal’ experiences, which last at least one hour. It will include Royal recordings – hear the voices of George V, Edward Vlll, George Vl and many more. There will be music and laughter guaranteed!
You will eat and drink from commemorative bone china tea sets celebrating coronations and jubilees from as far back as 1937.
The traditional English afternoon tea consists of home-made cakes and scones, the latter served with clotted cream, butter and home-made jam, and a selection of finger sandwiches. Guests are able to enjoy unlimited refills of tea or coffee! We also serve hot chocolate, cold drinks or a selection of fruit teas, peppermint tea and Earl Grey.
The cost, to include a ‘Royal experience’ is just £8 per head.
Royal Teas is only open to groups, which allows exclusive access to the museum and tea room. Your hostess, Anita, will offer a humorous talk about the history of the British Monarchy and some of her own ‘Royal’ experiences, which last at least one hour.
To book, contact Anita via telephone on 01388 766869 mobile 07798748828 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
AFTER many years of trying to persuade my farmer husband to allow me set up my Guinness World Record-breaking collection of Royal memorabilia in one of the barns on Blackhall Farm, he eventually relented.
The result is the British Royal Museum and Tea Room set in a refurbished dairy and I love it! I have loved all things Royal from being a small child and that love has turned into an obsession with the Monarchy. It began when my mother told me stories about the abdication crisis and what she saw as the ‘greatest love story of the century’ between King Edward and Mrs Simpson. Over the last five decades and more, I have built on these early memories and in 2001 made a successful World Record bid and found myself in the 2003 Guinness World Record book.
Although there had always been Royal memorabilia in the china cabinet at home, I began my record-breaking collection completely by accident in 1977.
The country went Jubilee crazy with almost everything in the shops selling items with the Silver Jubilee crest – even the milk bottles on the doorstep were emblazoned with it! As time went on, family and friends bought me Royal gifts for Christmas and birthdays. In 1981, I appeared on the local news programme and as I became known for my passion about the monarchy, more and more memorabilia found its way to my house – now a married mother-of-one with my own home.
I am now a mother-of-three with three granddaughters too – all of whom have been into a crazy Monarchist household, surrounded by hundreds of items of Royal memorabilia. Since that appearance on the TV, I have been featured in countless newspapers and magazines as well as lots of other TV programmes, even a documentary about my devotion to the Monarchy!
In all of that time, I have also been out and about throughout the northern region and beyond, giving talks about the history of the Monarchy, illustrated, of course, with items from my collection. I have raised money for the local MS Society in all of this time and it continues to be one of the charities I support.
As well as the home and my obsession, I am also the Editor of the local newspaper, The Weardale Gazette, and am very involved within my own community. I am the author of several local history books and love the area where I was born and bred although I make several journeys a year to visit my daughters who both live in London! Despite their upbringing, they have made both my husband and I very proud and remain three hardworking, conscientious and charitable grown-ups!
I have attended Buckingham Palace Garden parties, Royal weddings, funerals, jubilees and so much more – lots of Royal experiences to recount to visitors to the museum and tea room!