I’ve had it in my mind for years to buy an afternoon tea stand. My friend at work mentioned how she had bought bits and pieces here and there and that pushed me into looking for myself. I scoured the net on Ebay, Amazon and Etsy. I looked in artisan markets like Macclesfield Treacle Market. There was a stall that made stands. They had piles of old plates and would make up a stand from what you wanted. I went to John Lewis and there some great stands there. One was £250! Denby has a couple. I looked in a few charity shops. I wondered if there were art nouveau or art deco stands so I typed that in the search box (?) and up came something from House Of Frasers and Biba.
Biba was a famous fashion label and store in London in the 60s and 70s. It was bought out by Dorothy Perkins in 1975 then disappeared and now it’s back in House Of Fraser and, incongruously, Sportsdirect as the Sportsdirect group owns House of Fraser and therefore can sell Biba. You can buy your cheapass sports gear and fancy Biba items from the same website. Some of it is pretty good. Anyway despite all the lovely tea stands on sale I was just drawn to this Biba one. I found all those other ones new and old were too flowery and twee.
There was recently a report that the Manchester store was closing down. It was going to close a couple of years ago but Mike Ashley bought it and saved it. I had to get down there quickly. I had also booked afternoon tea at The River Restaurant at The Lowry and went for a nice, if rushed, wander around some of Manchester and even found somewhere that sold Kouign Amann. I thought I would get one later but of course they were gone later.
I went to House of Fraser and had a look around the kitchen department. They have great section of Wedgewood and other makes as well as gorgeous cutlery. All a bit too expensive for me. There were lovely afternoon tea stands there but I was still drawn to the Biba. I found it in an Art deco extravaganza. There were plates and bowls and cutlery as well as such things as cushions, I loved the cushions. The tea stand was reduced by £7 to £28. I bought it. I was worried it wouldn’t be as nice as it was on the pictures or what I had in my mind. I also thought, knowing my luck, there would be something wrong with the one I picked.
The box has a dated look to it.
I’m so glad I bought it. I could get a flowery old teastand for about £10 but I went for this. I would definitely serve upside down with the cakes on the bottom plate and the butties on the top.
Will I ever use it with someone or even just for myself? I took these photos and immediately dismantled it and put it away.