Thursday, October 15, 2009

Nippy

A recent post at Uniquely Tea  showing a nippy Halloween costume really peaked my interest.  A nippy was a specific type of waitress associated with the J. Lyons & Co. brand tea.  They acquired the name because of their quick and nimble motions (nipping between and around crowded tables).  They wore very distinctive uniforms that looked like maids of that period, with white aprons and hats.   You will find lots of interesting information, photos of nippies and products using this advertising icon here.

At one time a rumor was circulating that Margaret Thatcher was once a nippy.  Turns out that Ms. Thatcher was employed by J. Lyons & Co. for a brief period in the l940s as a research chemist in their lab, but was never a nippy.

I also learned that in 1930 the nippy concept was adapted into a musical comedy called Nippy.  The music was written by Billy Mayerl .  Here is a cute video of a song from Nippy the musical that I found on You Tube.    

It was great that the nippy image was one of a wholesome and proper young lady.  J. Lyons had strict standards of cleanliness for their nippies uniforms and prior to World War II they would not hire married women as nippies.

Lastly, I really liked the attire of the young ladies who served tea at Holly Cottage Tearoom in Newnan.  P9020800

 

8 comments:

Angela McRae said...

Oh, I love Lady Thatcher (whose birthday was this week, so you're very timely!). Even if she wasn't a nippy, it's fun to know she once worked at J. Lyons & Co.!

Mary said...

I love that video! Those two really could sing, and I loved the tune...very nice! I didn't know that about Lady Thatcher, and had never heard of a nippy...what a cute idea...and the girls' uniforms from Holly's are great...we have two tea parlors locally that dress very similarly, and it always makes us feel special. I even wear a white battenburg apron when I have a tea in my home, but I don't wear a black dress or cap! Thanks for the entertainment...I really enjoyed it!

God Bless,
Mary

Bellamere Cottage said...

What a lovely tea post! Loved the little gals in their sweet battenburg aprons...

I'm so sorry about your auntie and mom...I so hope they'd find the cure soon.

Blessings,
Spencer

Sara's Sweet Surprise said...

How lovely the battenburg lace aprons.
I so miss the tea shop/cafe we had locally. The owner ran it as a pastime project for fun. It was so wonderful. She moved on to other hobbies and took her scone recipe with her. Her scones alone set her apart from any others. They had tiny bits of white chocolate in them.

Sweet wishes,
Sara

Hootie said...

I finally had some time to come back and check out the links you have posted. What great information! I really enjoyed seeing all the tea inspired costumes too! :)

Linda J. said...

I love the uniforms the tearoom servers are wearing. So appropriate! I wish more tearooms "dressed" their servers.

Marilyn Miller said...

Loved the video and thoughts on "Nippy".

Juxidee said...

My Grandmother was a Nippy. Not only did they nip in between tables, they also had to remember orders (no writing it down) and did all their arithmetic in their head for the bill to speed things up!! On the front of their uniform were originally 60 buttons, but my Mother remembers that Gran had only 48. Maybe for the war years they reduced the number.

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