On a mission to save Mackintosh’s tea rooms

The woman who rescued one the earlier works of artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh is to feature in a new TV documentary.

BBC Scotland is to show Mackintosh’s Tea Rooms next week, which tell show in 2014, Glasgow businesswoman Celia Sinclair decided that she wanted to rescue the old Willow Tea Rooms on Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Street, and restore them to their former glory.

Celia was inspired by pioneering Glasgow businesswoman Miss Cranston who in 1903 commissioned the young and still largely unknown Mackintosh to design the luxurious cutting edge tea rooms with iconic chairs, tables wall decorations and chandeliers

She bought the remains of the old Willow Tea Rooms building on Sauchiehall Street to save it for Glasgow, and had a grand vision to reopen in time for Mackintosh’s 150th birthday in 2018.

This new hour-long documentary follows Celia on her mission to gain the money to push the £10million capital building project forward, waiting anxiously to find out if her Willow Tea Rooms Trust will be granted the heritage lottery funding they need, and organising VIP events for the private donors who have given generously to her ambitious project.

Celia also meets with historian Perilla Kinchin and over a cup of tea, she learns how women came out of their homes in 1903 to take tea in the new respectable drinking establishments; and how Miss Cranston expanded her franchise.

Also featured are some of the expert craft makers under pressure to deliver to tight deadlines as they attempt to exactly recreate some of the 400 pieces of Mackintosh furniture needed for the 2018 opening of the tea rooms.

Mackintosh’s Tea Rooms will be shown next Tuesday, 7 August, on BBC Two Scotland from 9-10pm.