The first Bettys tea room was opened on Cambridge Crescent in Harrogate, West Riding of Yorkshire, by Frederick Belmont, a Swiss confectioner, in July 1919.The Harrogate tea rooms later moved to their current position on Parliament Street.
Belmont arrived in England at King's Cross railway station able to speak little English and losing his document with the address of his destination. After confronting many passers by, an old gentleman who spoke a small amount of French managed to tell him where he was going, Bradford. Belmont returned to King's Cross shouting "Bradfat" at any train station official he could find; eventually he managed to board the correct train to Bradford. In the 1920s, Belmont opened a craft bakery in Harrogate, which meant it was possible to open more tea rooms, including a York branch.
The origin of the name is unknown. The company's website suggests four possibilities:
1. Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, mother of Queen Elizabeth II (which seems unlikely as she did not come to public prominence until marrying the Duke of York in 1923)
2. Betty Lupton, former manager of the Harrogate Spa
3. The daughter of a previous occupant of the Harrogate premises who died of tuberculosis
4. A small child who interrupted a meeting at which the choice of name was being discussed