Home » Talking About » A Meeting in Merrie England.

A Meeting in Merrie England.

Merrie England Coffee shops

Most of my readers will never ever step foot in one, more’s the pity.

There are only seven in total, five in Huddersfield, one in Halifax and the other one is to be found in our little town. In these parts they are the most widely used coffee shops around and used by all manner of customers as a meeting place and for lot’s of different reasons. To rest one’s weary feet, a place to get warm out of the way of the biting cold, a place to catch up on gossip or the latest episodes of a favourite soap, a place to rest a while and perhaps read a novel or newspaper, a place to do some business or as I often find myself doing of late, simply to sit and wile away the time waiting for K to finish her Yoga class.


You can read all about their founder and origins here and also get a feel for what makes them so special and such a favourite meeting place for both young and old, rich or poor here . We had arranged to meet up with my youngest son’s girlfriend and Merrie England was as always the chosen venue. Their Cappuccino coffee is second to none in my estimation and K swears by their hot chocolate. As we waited sat on our wooden seat, I  couldn’t help but notice four or five ladies gathered round a table across from where we were sat and who were obviously friends who met up regularly for a coffee and a natter about this and that.

I began to realise that its one thing I never do and haven’t enjoyed doing since my teen years. Meet up with a ‘gang’ of friends either as a prelude to going elsewhere or just for a coffee and a gossip or natter.  In a natural progression from that thought, memories came flooding back to me of ‘Bills’ coffee bar where anyone who was between the ages of sixteen to twenty five or so used to hang out, congregate, meet up, listen to music, play slot machines, drink endless amounts of Coca Cola and more importantly, meet the opposite sex.  It was usually in Bills where first dates were made, either through a friend or directly and where many a love story and happy marriage began.  It was the only place we had.  All the other meeting places in our small town  in those days were public houses, I don’t remember any other coffee bars except Bills. Or perhaps I just never ever noticed their existence.

It was handily placed just as you lighted from the bus. You couldn’t miss it.  The jukebox was placed right at the back next to the entrance to the other room, which I seem to remember was always dingily lit and housed the slot and pinball machines that most of the guys used to play.  The entire coffee shop wasn’t very big in size, and on a Saturday most of us used to have to stand, either propping up the counter or just stood about willy-nilly in groups.  Bill himself used to work behind the counter with his younger assistant Tony.  He must have made a fortune in that place.  It was all we had.  Every teenager in the town used it which explains how we all know each other so well even now, all these years later.  Bills has been long gone. I can’t remember its demise to be honest with you or what year it occurred but  it’s now a locksmiths shop.

As the group of ladies laughed and joked and swopped conversation with each other, I couldn’t help but feel sad.  I used to love those days in my youth. The conversations then were about the latest boyfriend or an outfit just bought.  Or often work as most of my friends in those days were also my workmates.  Gossip about who fancies who or the latest record by the Ronettes, the Beatles or the Supremes.  Today its usually about the latest TV soap or reality show, or what the grandchildren are up to. 

Eventually my nostalgic trip back in time was interrupted  by the arrival of my son’s girlfriend and I was brought sharply back to the here and now. Thank goodness we still have coffee shops  to meet up and gossip in! Long live Merrie England!



18 thoughts on “A Meeting in Merrie England.

  1. Sounds like I’m missing out by not living ‘up’ there TG, and I could do with some warming soup right about now!! Just got in from work, freezing cold, got a cold and wet nose greeting from Bess and now I’m ready for the week-end…
    Lovely to read about your nostalgic memories, and yes, I love to visit coffee shops, just to sit and take time gives a person a chance to catch a breather and relax… (so long as you can find a table !!) 😉 .. Cheers TG… xPen…and a lick from Bess. too…x

    • Thanks Pen, you would love it in Merrie England. There are shields on the walls, all the lights are on a wooden wheel and look like lit candles, there are tapestry’s hung on the walls and its all done as if you are in a medieval eatery. There beef sandwiches are to die for as is their Apple pie.

  2. Nothing like a warm cozy meeting place, I was taken in by that lovely pic of cappucino. Nothing like a good cuppa that. I enjoyed this quaint coffee shop in town for a few years but it closed down. Times are hard but it is time to find a new place to meet. Your story reminded me of those moments.
    Hope you and K are enjoying this sweet season of Holidays and winter wonderland. I like how you fixed your place up, festive 🙂
    smiles, Ravenxox

    • Thank you Raven. Yes I have tried to make my blog look festive. Took me a while to find the perfect background and header, but I think this does the trick. J’s girlfriend had a Latte which looked very nice. I must try one next time. They do a mean Knickerbocker Glory as well, but as none of the assistants likes doing them, they try and keep quiet about them, (but I know!)

  3. Thank goodness we have wordpress cafe to meet … it’s mean that we have to make our own coffee, but at least we can catch up with each other and natter about whatever …..
    Lovely trip down memory lane TG…..
    Stay warm!! It’s -10C here today!!!

  4. I think that looks like a luverly place to sit and eat and drink 🙂 We have a couple of nice little cafes locally and I always prefer them to the franchised big nationwide companies!

    • You would meet up in Merrie England Karen if you live hereabouts. From the days when your children were in buggies to the days when you are a Granma meeting up with friends to reminisce, its the place to be.

  5. That was quite the trip down memory lane and I am ever so glad that you brought us along. Perhaps, happy memories are treasures in our hearts and minds that we pull out when we have tough days or when we have the need to lift our spirits. Your memories allow you to hold onto the things you love and the things you never want to lose. I agree, how things/life has changed over the years!

    • Have to say, that you space/page is looking great for the holidays. Yes, Bon Jovi is playing on my page. 🙂 It’s a chilly -24°C here with the windchill. It was snowing earlier today… hope that the weather is being kind to you.

  6. Great Post.
    I’ve recently retired and am discovering the joy of lazy hours spent in our local coffee shop – drinking coffee, watching people and writing. While the place I frequent is great it doesn’t sound anywhere near as interesting as your Merrie England.

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