1940s – 50s

Though the food and staff shortages of the war years caused huge challenges for the business, Bettys remained as popular as ever – particularly Bettys in York which became a favourite with the many airmen based in the area.

In 1952 Frederick died and Victor Wild, his nephew, became Managing Director at just 29 years old. Over the next decade Victor stabilised the business and helped it adapt to the more experimental mood and changing tastes of the era.

Bettys staff, c.1940s
Bettys staff, c.1940s

We maintain that we provide an essential public service in York and we sincerely hope that you will not find it necessary to commandeer the establishment

Bettys response to a letter from the army asking to requisition Bettys in York, 1943

We must point out that we serve an average of 20,000 (twenty thousand) main meals, subsidiary meals, teas and hot beverages, per week.

Bettys response to a letter from the army asking to requisition Bettys in York, 1943

Victor Wild and Claire Belmont with the Betty mirror, c.1950s
Bettys Menu, 1957

The bars are also popular and are largely patronised by the forces

Bettys managed to convince the army not to requisition Bettys York because of the valuable public service it provided, 1943.

Experimenting with new ideas with the Coffee Shop in Street Lane, Leeds