I wonder how many English immigrants to these shores have bought English and Irish products from Pasadena’s Rose Tree Cottage, either by mail-order, or with a visit accompanied by a spot of afternoon tea, served with traditional elegance by my friend Edmund Fry, looking for all the world like a properly dressed movie butler (think John Gielgud in Arthur).
He and his wife became a landmark on this West Coast, always waving the Union Jack, and even helping to organize the annual Birthday festivities of Queen Elizabeth in June, held this year at the luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel. My wife and I attended View image, welcomed aboard by a bagpipe playing Scotsman in full military regalia. And Edmund part of the floor show, showing off his talents at the fox-trot and other favorite ballroom dancing. So imagine my horror when I just learned that their lease had been terminated, due to the land being sold to a developer, who’s going to raze the cottage, their home and shop for the last twenty-five years.
The Fry’s deserve better than this, and I hope others will join me in a letter-writing campaign to Pasadena’s mayor. They are under no legal obligation of course, but one would like to think that they will find a way to get them other premises in the neighborhood, a stone’s throw from the Huntington Library. We will all benefit from this if they do.
Here’s what I just mailed off:
Mayor Bill Bogaard,
City of Pasadena,
117 E. Colorado Blvd.,
CA 91105
Re: Closing Down Rose Tree Cottage
Dear Mayor Bogaard,
I am an expatriated Brit these forty-five years, and an American citizen, and I have always thought of Rose Tree Cottage as a small but cherished haven, not just for us Englishmen, but also for the many well traveled Americans who are Anglophiles.
On my last trip there for a cup of tea with my old friends Edmund and Mary Fry, I was horrified to learn that the place will soon be closed down!
The circumstances were explained to me, sadly I may say, and I suppose one can understand that the city cannot interfere with what must be a private transaction.
However, please may I join in with multitudes of other voices to urge the City of Pasadena to make other arrangements for these good people. I understand that their dearest wish is to remain within your boundaries, and they will need help to make this happen.
Setting up shop again at their age must be a huge undertaking, and they need all the encouragement they can get.
Otherwise, and I could not blame them if they do, they may well move away, which would be Pasadena’s huge loss.
So please muster support among your city officials, and see what you can do. You will earn the gratitude of many Pasadena citizens (and voters!) Yes?
Yours most sincerely,
[signed] John Clark
This site will give the reader a better understanding of Rose Tree Cottage
Afterthought: Back in February, I posted a comment about a British supermarket chain’s plan to enter the California market in a new and surprising way. I’m talking about TESCO. Could they come to the rescue? I also posted a comment about our general frustration in efforts to keep alive our memories of homeland comforts, unlike most other ethnic groups.