December 13 2013 Latest news:
by Imogen Blake
Thursday, October 10, 2013
The owner of a much-loved Highgate tea shop has said the decision to sell her business after falling pregnant with her first child was “heartbreaking”.
It is a bittersweet moment for Georgina Worthington, owner of much-loved High Tea of Highgate, who is excited at expecting a baby girl in February, but “very sad” to be leaving the business she has forged over the last six years.
But the 33-year-old will not give up her childhood dream of running a tea shop so easily, insisting that she will wait to find the right person to take over High Tea before she hands over the keys to the new owner.
“I decided that because I was having the baby, I wanted to spend more time with my family who live quite far away,” said Mrs Worthington, who lives in Hampstead Garden Suburb.
“It was a heartbreaking decision and probably one of the hardest I have ever had to make.
“But if I don’t find someone to take it on, I may have to reassess the decision then. We’ll have to see what happens.”
The Highgate High Street premises is being advertised for sale with estate agents Christie + Co as an opportunity to develop the existing business.
But a spokesman said that while the tea room is the site’s unique selling point, the agents are open to offers from all potential buyers, whether they want to take on the shop or not.
He said: “We have to keep an open mind, but I suspect it will remain a tea shop. The business package is the real unique selling point of this particular property. But as agents we remain open to all buyers.”
Mrs Worthington set up her vintage-style tea room in 2008 while she was living in Highgate, having previously worked at Burberry and Paul Smith as a fashion designer.
It has been listed alongside the likes of The Ritz and Claridges in a guide to the best tea shops in London.
She now works around the clock baking fresh cakes and scones for her vintage-style tea rooms, which also sell a range of house loose leaf teas and British-made china. But she said the six or seven-day weeks the business demands will be too much work when the baby arrives.
Residents expressed their sadness at seeing the popular shop sold and expressed their hope that it will remain a tea room.
“It’s great news that Georgina is going to be a parent and it would be nice to think that High Tea would continue as a tea shop,” said 63-year-old Highgate Neighbourhood Forum member Allan Rapley.
The Highgate High Street resident added: “High Tea is one of the main stops in London for tourists in the know and people visit it from as far away as Japan.”
Michael Hammerson, who sits on the Highgate Society’s environment committee, said: “The best option would be to carry on the business, so I hope she can find someone to take it on.”