No 25 King Street

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25 King Street


An invitation to tea

Nos 25 and 27
Tregear's Oriental Tearooms and Cafe - early 20th century

The building

For no apparent reason the Historic Environment Record has combined Nos 25 and 27 on one page, describing them as a single building. It is obvious from the photograph on the left that they are two buildings of entirely different design. The description given by HER of a four-bay two-storey building clearly refers only to No 27.

The only thing the buildings have in common is that they have been knocked through at ground floor level to create the current Au Caprice perfumery.


In common with many other King Street premises, No 25 has been home to grocery and wine and spirits businesses, as well as drapers, and today perfumer Au Caprice is trading there.


Perhaps the most unusual business at No 25 was the Oriental Tea Room run on the first floor by John Tregear, whose grocery was at street level from 1903 to 1930. The tearoom issued charming postcards for invitations to be sent out, and who could refuse?

The first recorded business at No 25, in a 1834 trade directory, was H Noel, grocer and wines and spirits dealer.

He was followed in 1837 by chemist J Christie.

The 1841 census records the presence of tailor John Crabb and clock maker Francis Norman. They were followed by auctioneer John Sinel, who also traded in Halkett Place as Sinel and Gondon. It is not clear whether he actually traded from 25 King Street. In 1851 John (35) lived at No 25 with his wife Isabella (28), their two sons and two daughters and a servant. Isabella Ashton was John’s second wife and their family at this time consisted of two of his children from his first marriage, her daughter, and the baby son they had together a few months before the census. This baby son was named John, as was his elder half-brother.

The property was unoccupied for a time, at least as far as census returns of residents were concerned, before Philip Garnier, already in business as a draper at the adjoining No 23, spread his wings into No 25. He was followed by a succession of drapers, Colley and Remon, Colley and Co, and Hawkes and Gardener, before John Tregear established his business early in the 20th century.

He was followed by wines and spirits dealers Maison Utilite, and then fancy goods supplier Les Touristes, and ultimately perfumer Au Caprice.


  • 1834 - H Noel, grocer, wines and spirits
  • 1837 - J Christie, chemist
  • 1841 - John Crabb, tailor; Francis Norman, clockmaker
  • 1851 - John Sinel, Caesarea Auction Mart
  • 1861 - Unoccupied
  • 1871 - Philip Garnier, draper (also at 23)
  • 1874-1890 - Colley and Remon, draper
  • 1890-1897 - Colley and Co tailor and draper
  • 1897 - Hawkes and Gardener
  • 1902-1930 - John Tregear, grocer
  • 1940-1955 - Maison Utilite, wines and spirits
  • 1960-1980 - Les Touristes
  • 2000 to date - Au Caprice, perfumer

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