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Holden Tea Room Review

Rakhi Sinha heads to Man Met’s Holden building for sweet tea and history

Written by . Published on February 1st 2012.

Holden Tea Room Review

ART students at Manchester Metropolitan University have come up with a novel way to raise money for their final year degree show- with a 1930s style café.

The Tea Room is only around until Friday 10 February so catch it while you can. 

They’ve transformed an exhibition space in the Holden building (near All Saints Park on Oxford Road) into a fully functioning tearoom with a long list of teas and selection of homemade cakes, soups and sandwiches.

Students dressed in black with Victorian aprons emulate the slick, attentive service of that era as they take orders and bring food out on ornate metal trays.

Holden Tea RoomHolden Tea Room


They say the Tea Room aims to merge “café culture with contemporary art, performance and installation.” But what exactly makes it an installation? Apparently, it’s the excellent, thorough service: “We are here to attend to your every need.”

With that in mind, it’s tempting to ask them to spoon feed me my lemon drizzle cake to test how far they’re willing to go with dutiful service, but that’s be a bit cruel.

It was a good slice of cake though, moist, citrusy, perfect with a cup of freshly brewed coffee- and a steal at £2.50 for both.

Holden Tea RoomHolden Tea Room

Like the service, the space has also been given careful consideration. The focal point is a bespoke aviary with birds which have been carefully transported from their home in Lancashire.

It was busy at lunchtime - and not only with students. When we arrived there was a queue so some of the students went off in search for more tables.

Organisers have managed to secure funding from Lancashire Tea and have an army of friends and family helping to make the homemade cakes. As well as the lemon drizzle they had flapjacks, banana and chocolate cake, fruit cake, shortcake, apple crumble and more (all £1.50).

They also have an afternoon tea option with a selection of cakes and sandwiches served with a pot of Lancashire tea, which for £6.50 for two people is a bargain.

If you’re after something savoury for lunch they have a range of freshly made sandwiches (£2.20 - £2.70) and soup of the day (£1.50) as well.

The Tea Room is only around until Friday 10 February so catch it while you can. 

Visit holdentearoom.tumblr.com

Follow Hold Tea Room on Twitter @holdentearoom

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Claudia ForbesFebruary 1st 2012.

what are the opening hours of the pop up tea room?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousFebruary 1st 2012.

11.30am-4.30pm Monday-Friday this week and next.

Julie JohnsonFebruary 1st 2012.

Just to clarify (I hope), it appears MMU does not actually have a Holden Building.

According to the linked blog, the tea room is in the Holden Gallery, which, according to the MMU website ( http://www.holdengallery.mmu.ac.uk/visiting/ ) , is in the Grosvenor Building, which in turn is on Cavendish Street, just off Oxford Road on the south side of All Saints park.

I'm sure it isn't as confusing as I make it appear. I hope to pay a visit tomorrow and confirm whether or not I am correct. Perhaps someone else could confirm or deny?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
journeynatorFebruary 1st 2012.

you're correct!

journeynatorFebruary 1st 2012.

you're correct!

Julie JohnsonFebruary 1st 2012.

> it’s tempting to ask them to spoon feed me my
> lemon drizzle cake to test how far they’re
> willing to go with dutiful service, but
> that’s be a bit cruel.

And a bit weird.

Jon BiddulphFebruary 2nd 2012.

The group who initiated and are managing this project are all final year students on B.A. Interactive Arts http://www.artdes.mmu.ac.uk/interactivearts/

Gareth HollymanFebruary 2nd 2012.

Mmm ..very chic, and it's already attracting 'names' - I saw TV boss Alex Connock in there.

1 Response: Reply To This...
ljmpoolFebruary 15th 2012.

lots of connections with MMU, and a big supporter of the Art department in general

Suzanne K.February 6th 2012.

What a wonderful idea and good luck to the students for being so enterprising too. I've always wanted to run a tea room of my own

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