History of tea in derbyshire

By Richard Felix – Derbyshire Historian

Tea has been blended in Derby and Derbyshire since the late 1870s. First of all by the Star Tea Company and then in 1890 Derby Tea was created on Derby Market Place.
Joseph Cadman and James Fish set up the headquarters of the Star Tea Company in the late 1870s. Cadman was a successful grocer and tea merchant and Fish was a commercial traveler in the tea trade. It is easy to understand how these two imaginative men brought their skills together to create The Star Tea Company.

Traffic Jam in St Peter’s Street, Derby. caused by huge delivery of Tea to Star Tea Co. premises which later became The Midland Drapery.

By 1888 the company had established over 40 shops not only in Derbyshire but around the country in many English towns. Indeed the company was one of the first national multiples to be established in England and was the cutting edge of a retail revolution.

Giles Austin Tea Blending.

In 1890 Giles Austin set up shop at No 3 Market Place and started the G Austin and Co Tea Blenders Derby, where he created the special blend, Derby Tea.

Derby Tea Austins VanGiles Austin’s Model T Ford Van.

A few doors away was his rival grocer Arthur Hodgkinson, incidentally where Mathew Walker first started selling Christmas Puddings. The two grocers amalgamated to create Austin Hodgkinson’s.

Giles Austin’s shop Market Place, Derby.

Famous grocers and tea and coffee merchants, famous throughout Derbyshire.

Derbyshire Tea is a gourmet blend of the finest Camellia leaves from Kenya, Sri Lanka and Assam, where there is even a tea plantation named “Derby Tea Gardens”

Derby Tea Plantation, Assam.

Derbyshire Tea is blended by Northern Tea Merchants based in Chesterfield, Derbyshire.
In 1959 The Northern Tea Company, Chesterfield was founded by David Pogson, whose father before him was a successful tea merchant teaching David all he knew about the trade. Northern Tea Merchants was one of the first companies in the UK to manufacture their own tea bags. Now incorporating David’s son James into the business, they have become internationally recognised within the tea trade for Importing Tea, Coffee and Cocoa from growers in the major producing countries. This Derbyshire company blends tea that matches or surpasses branded qualities and and are contract packers for “Own Label Teas”, such as our very own “Derbyshire Tea” blend.

In 2022 Derbyshire Tea was granted the Trade Marks for the logotype and wording “Derbyshire Tea” by The Intellectual Property Office.
130 years after tea was first blended in Derbyshire, it is available again. A superior blend, chosen by, blended by, and packaged by Derbyshire folk who are proud of the rich heritage of their county.
Derbyshire Born and Derbyshire Brewed!

Old tape measure

Early example of
Tea Advertising and Merchandise
Derby Tea Tape Measure