I only know three facts about “The Horse With The Red Umbrella” Tea Rooms and Coffee House and only one of them is mentioned in this souvenir.
Firstly: This spot on the High Street was once occupied by the Loyalty Theatre, between 1828 and 1843, before becoming a glass and china shop and then “The Horse With The Red Umbrella” in 1970 [named after the last play to be performed at the Loyalty Theatre, allegedly].
Secondly: I was made so welcome on my first visit “The Horse With The Red Umbrella” when I went in there for my elevenses I went back there for tea [or dinner as some people prefer to call it] on the same day!
Thirdly: My travelling companion, Mrs. W, never gets the name of the restaurant correct! It is usually the Umbrella that slips her mind and it is often replaced by another wet weather item, like wellies or galoshes! Not that that is problem, because we always remember The Horse.
The village of Moreton is a very interesting place. You can stand on the pedestrian bridge over the River Frome and watch the world go by. You can walk across the ford through the River Frome if you like, but I don’t recommend that from my personal experience, unless you’re wearing something on your feet! The windows, engraved by Sir Laurence Whistler, at St. Nicholas and St. Magnus Church are breathtaking. There is a walled garden, with a cafe and a farm shop [where we had our first pot of tea], which is opposite the Moreton Tea Room [where we had our second pot of tea].
Moreton is also the final resting place of T. E Lawrence, more popularly known as Lawrence of Arabia, although he was motorcycling around this particular corner of Dorset at a time in his life when he wanted to escape his celebrity status. We visited the grave, which is very well kept, but it was the motorcycle parked outside the Moreton Tea Rooms that got me thinking. Lawrence was a keen motorcyclist and it didn’t take a great leap of the imagination to picture him motorcycling through Moreton, down Hurst Road, passed the Old School House on his way back to his cottage at Clouds Hill.
If you want to see a photograph of Clouds Hill, which is quite a remarkable building, follow this link to a previous Photo Archive post here: Photo Archive: Clouds Hill, Dorset, June 2011.