A touch of Great Gatsby glamour is set to descend on a County Durham town with the opening of a stylish new vintage tearoom.

Sarah and Anthony Patterson are opening Patterson’s Vintage Tearooms on Middle Street in Consett this weekend after turning a personal passion for vintage china and the 1920s into a new business venture.

The 60-cover venue is decorated in the famous white and gold style of the Ritz Hotel’s Palm Court Café, with a hanging chandelier acting as a central feature.

A butler in traditional uniform will meet, greet and seat customers as they arrive, with sandwiches, scones and cakes being served on one hundred-year-old china tea sets.

The project has been backed by a £25,000 investment from the North East Small Loan Fund Supported by The European Regional Development Fund, which the couple secured through regional fund management firm NEL Fund Managers.

Ten new jobs have been created at the new tearoom, including four hospitality apprenticeships, while Sarah and Anthony are also planning to recruit for four further positions through the Government’s Kickstart scheme.

The first-floor room in the three-storey building has also been transformed into an Alice In Wonderland-themed venue which is available for hire for birthday parties and other private functions.

A full weekend of opening events is now being finalised, with the tearoom’s doors set to open for the first time on Friday 10 September.

Joe Murray at CDC Enterprise Agency worked with the Pattersons on the development of their business ideas, while accountancy support is being provided by Paul Young of V2R Ltd.

Sarah Patterson says: “I’ve always loved everything about the glamour and style of the 1920s, and have collected vintage china tea sets for many years.

“The idea of building on this by creating a vintage tearoom in our home town emerged during lockdown and it’s wonderful to see how it’s now been realised.

“There’s already a lot of investment being made to enhance the area around the tearoom, which can only be good for bringing more people into the town, and we’re playing our part by offering a high-quality destination venue like no other in the region.

“The NEL team were really supportive in guiding us through the investment application process and all the advisors who’ve helped us have made a real difference towards bringing our ideas to life.”

Jonathan Armitage, investment executive at NEL Fund Managers, adds: “This is a fantastic venture in an excellent location that is sure to attract a lot of attention from across the region.

“Our investments have regularly helped people turn their personal passions into tangible business venture and the team is looking forward to paying the tearoom a visit ourselves as soon as we can.”

Joe Murray at CDC Enterprise Agency in Chester-le-Street says: “It has been great to see Sarah and Anthony’s vision for the business turned into a reality. The hard work they have put in to realising their dream is really inspiring.

“The tearoom will be a welcome addition to Consett and especially vital to a sector that has been hit so hard by the pandemic.”

Part of the £120m North East Fund and aimed predominantly at smaller SMEs, the £9m North East Small Loan Fund typically offers loans of between £10,000 and £100,000 to businesses in Tyne & Wear, Durham and Northumberland.

It is designed to assist with the creation of over 1,200 new regional jobs in more than 320 SMEs over the life of the fund.

The overarching £120m North East Fund will provide financial support for more than 600 businesses, creating around 3,500 jobs and delivering a legacy of up to £80m for further investment into the region.

For more information on NEL’s investment criteria, contact the investment team on 0345 369 7007.