Who was Betty?
Ever since Bettys first opened in Harrogate in 1919, customers have been intrigued by the true identity of ‘Betty’. And even 100 years later, the truth behind the name remains a mystery though many explanations have been suggested. Here are some of our favourites.
Betty, the Musical
Bettys founder, Frederick Belmont, and his wife Claire may have seen this musical theatre show about a kitchen maid named Betty who wins over the affections of a young duke. Perhaps Frederick had a fondness for a rags-to-riches story.
Betty Lupton – a Harrogate Legend
When Frederick wrote to his sister Ida after arriving in Yorkshire he described Harrogate as a ‘spa of the first order’. Did he choose to attract locals to his smart café by naming it after Betty Lupton, ‘Queen of the Harrogate Wells’, who served the town’s spa water to visitors in the nineteenth century?
Perhaps the least fanciful story is of a young girl, Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Rose – the granddaughter of Mary Wood, the financial backer and first Chairman of Bettys – who is said to have arrived at the very first Board meeting carrying a tea tray as the name was being discussed.
Although many tales are told and explanations offered, some mysteries are better left unsolved…
Winifred Barnes as Betty, the kitchen maid, from the musical ‘Betty’
Betty Lupton ‘Queen of the Harrogate Wells’