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Hungerford Tea Rooms forced to close

THE "rollercoaster" ride of Alexander's Tea Rooms in Hungerford Arcade has come to an end.

The venture, run by James Hilton and his partner Cheryl Higginbottom shut up shop for the last time on Friday.

Mr Hilton said in a statement: "We have enjoyed every minute of this rollercoaster project, full of ups and downs through the many tiers and lockdowns of the pandemic.

alexander's (48547846)
alexander's (48547846)

"Unfortunately it hasn't worked out for us at the arcade.

"I would like to thank my staff for all their hard work and contributions to the business.

"And most importantly I would like to thank all our loyal customers – we will miss you all very much."

The venture opened last July with Alexander’s Tea Room taking its historic name from the family grocer, coffee and tea dealer on the same site, which operated until the 1960s.

Mr Hilton said last year: “Running Alexander’s Tea Room is a dream come true, with our love of antiques and catering all coming together."

However, he said, presciently: “It’s a tough time to start a new business, but it makes the challenge even more inviting and we can’t wait to make Alexander’s a great success.”

And earlier this year arcade manager Rita Kibble said: “James has had such bad luck since he took it over with all the lockdowns.

"He’s spent a lot of money since he took it over last year and, unfortunately, has barely been able to open to the public."

Meanwhile Hungerford Arcade will not be without café facilities for long.

Co-owner Adrian Gilmour has announced a new project.

He said: "We're sorry it didn't work out for James and Cheryl and we wish them all the best for the future.

"However, we're excited to announce a new venture.

"A family group is coming in and they're looking forward to getting set up here."

The new business is scheduled to open early in July and there will be more information in the Newbury Weekly News when it becomes available.

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