Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The Empress Tea China

Photo @ Valarie LaBore ~ used with permission

In 1914, King George V opened the Booth china factory in Stoke, England. In his honour, the Empress tea china was presented to him. It was later used at The Empress in 1939 for the Royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. This pattern has become the official china pattern of the hotel. It is now produced by Royal Doulton exclusively for them and is available for purchase in The Fairmont Store that is adjacent to the Tea Lobby.

This is what was written on the handout my friend, Valarie, was given when she bought her teacup at the Empress giftshop:

In 1995, Marilyn Harvey (General Manager of Canadian Pacific Stores in The Empress) was roving the aisles of an antique shop in Victoria and the crown inside a teacup caught her eye. The crown, set within the interior of the teacup, and around the rim of the saucer, bore a striking resemblance to the crown in The Empress logo. Her hunch proved correct, as further research revealed that this very pattern had originated at the Booth factory in Stoke-on-Trent, England. There was a connection to The Empress but it was not the crown.

Royal Doulton had purchased the "Booth" facility some sixty years ago, and it was found that the Royal pattern did indeed have Royal significance. The story has it that the very first set produced had been presented to King George in 1914, on the occasion of his opening the Booth factory.

The china made its first appearance at The Empress during a Royal occasion in 1939. When King George & Queen Elizabeth (Queen Mum) dined in The Empress Room, it was The Empress Royal China that adorned the head table. The china had arrived just before the "Royals", and it is understood that the choice of pattern for the day had been pre-arranged.

Hidden away, under close scrutiny for twelve years, the china made its next appearance during a visit by Princess Elizabeth in 1951, now our present Queen Elizabeth.

Now, thanks to a special arrangement with Royal Doulton, the pattern has been matched to perfection, and is being produced exclusively for The Canadian Pacific Store. Every detail is exact, except a slight variation in the royal blue colour, which, due to lead restriction, cannot be duplicated. This dainty and exquisite pattern is created by layering lithograph transparencies, one over the other, fourteen times. The teapot is adorned with fourteen carat gold, placed by hand.

You can own a piece of Royal history, a fond memory of your visit to The Empress, in Victoria, British Columbia, and what a wonderful gift to pass on to friends and loved ones.

All pieces are available at The Canadian Pacific Store.

Link to photos of other pieces of this china and information on purchasing:


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