1940s cool arrives at Bedlam

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With a penchant for all things cool and old-fashioned, Cosy’s Vintage Tea Party is sure to enhance Bedlam Market within the old convent on Pump Street when it opens for one-night only on Culture Night.

It’s the beginning of a new business for 26-year-old local woman Natasha Hannaway.

Sensing a niche in the market, Natasha dreamt up Cosy’s Vintage Tea Party as a novel way of celebrating a love of all things vintage and making use of a dazzling collection of china tea-sets!

Speaking to the ‘Derry Journal’ ahead of Culture Night, Natasha explained: “We’re doing a pop-up shop this Friday especially for Culture Night and then hope to open full-time for October in a lovely, newly-renovated part of the building.”

In the past, Natasha has held similar themed 1940s’ styled tea rooms for birthday parties and hen events, so this is the first time she will share her considerable charms and cup-cakes with the wider public.

“I’ve always shopped in Bedlam anyway and I love the place,” she says.

“And I’ve been collecting china tea-sets for years and wanted to put them to good use. So I came up and talked to the traders at Bedlam about my ideas for a tea-room and thankfully, they thought it was a great idea.

“I believe it’s the first ever 1940s tea-shop in Ireland.

“We’ll be selling teas, coffees, cake stands with buns and scones, all hand-made of course, all sweet finger-foods really. Everything will have a 1940s theme, with all the old music, vintage clothes and make-up. The works!”

“I’m delighted to become part of the Bedlam team,” Natasha laughs. “Derry’s in need of a 1940s tea-shop!

A fellow trader from the Gladrags and Handbags shop at Bedlam, adds: “Once we have our lovely vintage cafe up and running, Natasha will become a permanent fixture and we’ll all be thrilled to have her on board.”

Although this initial run will pave the way for the official opening in October, Natasha’s tea-room will be just one of the shops open for Culture Night.

Bedlam traders hope to have the entire ground floor area open to visitors, including the old convent kitchen, which now houses an expanded vintage selection by Gladrags and Handbags, and the beautiful courtyard at the back of the historic convent.

Among the shops currently housed in this city centre haven are The Recovery Room, Gladrags & Handbags, Beyond Redemption, Nomadic, Chaos, Little Acorns Bookstore, Family Jewels and Abbey Antiques - and now of course, Cosy’s Vintage Tea Party.

The old Sisters of Mercy Convent is a building steeped in four centuries of local history.

Especially for Culture Night and complimenting their new tea-room, Bedlam will celebrate the building’s unique history by opening up its own in-house museum, chronicling its rich and complicated history.

From its beginnings in the 1700s as the Kings Arm Hotel, its tenure as home to the Grand Jury of the Courthouse, or when an old Bishop bought the building to house the Sisters of Mercy, the convent is well worth a visit.

So spend your Culture Night at Bedlam!

For more details of what’s on during Culture Night, see page 45.