SHOPPERS can step back in time with the opening of a unique Morpeth tea room.
Award-winning chocolatier Curiously Wicked has created a visitor experience right out of the history books as it transports customers back in time to an Edwardian-style eatery.
Decoration, furniture, recipes and staff uniforms have all been painstakingly researched to date back to 1912, and the waiting staff are all in character, passing on the latest gossip about their employers Lord and Lady Cuwick while customers take morning coffee, lunch or afternoon tea.
The family business has spent three months working on the £180,000 transformation of a space above the existing chocolate shop in Sanderson Arcade to create the facility, employing 16 new members of staff and recruiting chef David Hall, who has cooked for royalty.
Owner Krystyna Dodds said: “We are so excited about opening the Curiously Wicked Tea Room. This really is something completely different. As well as serving fantastic food, we want to create a little bit of theatre and give our customers a real experience that they can’t get anywhere else.
“We have tried to capture the opulence and elegance of the Edwardian era. Everyone will be addressed as Sir or Madam and we will all be in character as the staff of Lord and Lady Cuwick of Cuwick Manor. It’s a real opportunity for people to come here and to step back in time.
“There’s even a sign going up above the door telling people they are going back into the 21st Century when they leave.”
In addition to the Edwardian style furnishings, the tea room will display the work of local artist Sarah Jane Sikora. Customers can also book a private room for special occasions, complete with leather Chesterfields, chandeliers, a footman and a maid.
Sanderson Arcade Manager Medi Parry said: “We kept popping in to have a look while the building work has been going on and we can’t believe the transformation.
“Krystyna and her team are so passionate about what they do and about getting every detail right, we’re really excited to see the tea rooms completed and all the staff in their uniforms. It’s going to bring something really different to the arcade and to Morpeth.”
The business began selling handmade chocolates at farmers’ markets, before opening its shop in the arcade.
The tea room is open now, but an official opening will be held in November when the chocolate shop celebrates its first anniversary.