Teapot Island, the famous but quirky cafe in Yalding, Kent, which has hosted royalty and twice made it into the book of Guinness World Records is at risk of closing its doors for the last time.
Owners Sue Blazye, 73, and husband Keith, 69, are retiring and the future of the famous venue is now uncertain. Their son Luke, 42, was overseeing the business but now needs to care for his children, aged 12 and ten, after his wife became ill.
Sue Blazye was given two teapots 40-years ago, which inspired her on huge collection. They have since spent an incredible £250,000 amassing 8,500 teapots in total. It’s believed to be the second-largest in the world, according to the Guinness World Records.
Mrs Blazye wants to keep all the teapots together, saying: ‘It’s taken me too long [to build this] and I want everybody to be able to see them as a collection.’
The novelty ceramics include the late Queen, politicians, Daleks, Betty Boop, Mr Blobby, animals, cars, food and a prized teepee-shaped design by artist Clarice Cliff. There are also more risque designs including a series inspired by the Kama Sutra. Mrs Blazye’s favourite is a depiction of Princess Diana entitled Pipe Dream made by Richard Parrington in 1981 to mark her wedding to Charles.
King Charles (then only a Prince!) and his wife Camilla went to Teapot Island in 2014 while visiting Yalding after it was hit by floods.
Camilla’s face when she saw the shelves of novelty teapots was priceless, and she didn’t go home empty-handed. She bought a £20 souvenir of their visit, a teapot in the shape of a resting camel with Lawrence of Arabia sitting on top.
Why this one? “Cam-ella,” she grinned to Charles.
The family is hoping an enthusiast, museum or country home will buy or lease the collection which attracts teapot-lovers from as far as Japan and New Zealand. Separately, the cafe and a self-contained four-bedroom property with a swimming pool and views of the River Medway are going on sale for £950,000.