THE POLLY Tea Rooms has been a tourist attraction since 1912 when it opened its doors in Marlborough High Street.

Created by Miss Jean Leith Hay and Miss Janet McCloud, the tea rooms quickly got a reputation for serving delicious treats and became a safe place for women to meet. McCloud was one of the original suffragettes.

Many of the recipes used today date beck to the 1930s and even some of the chocolate moulds and biscuit cutters from that time are still in use.

A fire broke out in 1966, causing damage to the tea rooms and nearby children’s nursery. There were no casualties but the upper level of the café was largely destroyed.

Mop fairs were changed forever following the fire as new rules came in in order to ensure that fire engines could access buildings on the High Street at all times.

The café was been involved in a crash in 2002, when a car drove into the side of the building during the busy lunch time period.

A pensioner from Lavington was behind the wheel of a Peugeot 206 which lost control and drove into the front wall and bow windows.

Fortunately no one inside or outside the building was injured.

Up to 500 hungry mouths a day are now fed by owner Ann and David Clarke, and their team of waiting staff who still wear traditional uniforms.

Through the years the tea rooms have picked up international fame and last year were the inspiration for a Japanese event that celebrates the best of British.

Ann Clarke, who owns The Polly Tea Rooms and has lived in Marlborough for more than 30 years, said: “They came to take photos of the whole place and their plan is to replicate it inside a department store in Japan.

“They have specially imported the actual strawberry jam we use and the tea bags, which are produced by a company on the south coast, to provide an authentic experience. We even divulged our secret recipe.”

Famous visitors have included Cary Grant, Robbie Williams and Kate Middleton, who visited with school friends while she studied at Marlborough College.