Darvilles of Windsor: A pictorial report
PUBLISHED: 10:34 04 May 2016 | UPDATED: 10:34 04 May 2016
Time for a tea break, and Maureen McLean headed to the perfect place for a very special pictorial report – Darvilles of Windsor
Darvilles of Windsor
The Oxford Road shop in the 1930s
A badge of honour: Darvilles are Royal Warrant holders
Father and son Kenneth and James Darville tasting the tea in 1963
The current generation of Darvilles run their business out of the Vansittart Estate in Windsor. They are almost within waving distance of Her Majesty sipping a cup of Darvilles tea, with a perfect view over Windsor Castle from their office windows.
In 1971 the late Sir Terry Wogan, opened Darvilles first local supermarket in the Dedworth Road in Windsor. As you can see, he was a big hit with the shoppers
There’s no doubt about it – a cup of tea is such a quintessentially British pastime. Tea in a big mug on its own or in a delicate china teacup with cucumber sandwiches… us Brits just love a cuppa almost as much as we love talking about the weather! Visitors to Berkshire just can’t get enough of afternoon tea with fruit scones, lashings of strawberry jam and cream.
One historic Berkshire supplier of teas is Darvilles of Windsor. They have been blending and supplying tea since 1860 and hold the Royal Warrant. Kenneth Darville gained this prestigious account in 1946 when King George VI was on the throne.
All these years later, Darvilles still supply Windsor Castle with tea and a variety of goods. Darvilles are the oldest company in Windsor to hold the Royal Warrant and are rightly very proud of their long standing connection with the Royal Household.
Many of our readers will recall that at one time the familiar local name Darvilles had over 20 grocery shops and supermarkets around Windsor, Maidenhead, Staines and Slough. And people tended to stay with the business - employee Walter Longford clocked up 73 years service with them!
There’s heaps of local history connected to Darvilles. During the Second World War, 35 of their employees were called up for service. They were sent comfort parcels from Darvilles including lighters, boot laces, books, talcum powder and toothpastes, together with welcome news from home by the Darvilles team.
There were also ladies’ parcels included nail polish, powder puff and hair nets. In 1960 it was all change at the Windsor store as self service shopping was introduced along with the use of wire baskets.
The Grocers Gazette considered this new phenomenon: “Darvilles customers, mostly middle-aged and elderly ladies who might be expected to be bewildered and resentful, actually took to the change with enthusiasm!”
Enjoy a quick sip of delicious Darvilles
Peter Darville joined the business in 1956 and still runs it today. Daughter Karen joined in 1999 as a Director and is the fifth generation Darville in this greatly respected local business.
These days Darvilles teas include Speciality Black Teas - Royalty Assam, English Breakfast, Earl Grey and Darjeeling.
Their Fruit & Herb Infusions include delicious Raspberry & Ginseng, Lemon & Ginger, Peppermint and Camomile. They also have a range of Green Teas including Green Tea & Jasmine, Green Tea & Lemon and Green Tea & Peppermint.
The teas are sold throughout the UK in cafes, hotels, gift shops and delis as well as the Royal Windsor Farm Shop and Waitrose. Head abroad and you will find them throughout Europe and the USA, as well as Russia, Japan and China.
Darvilles will be launching a special tea blend this year to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday.
To find out more about the range visit www.darvillesofwindsor.co.uk
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