Interview with Gerry Gull of the Beehive Tea Rooms (28th October 2010)
Gerry runs the Beehive in South Street Rochford
Rochford Life: The Beehive is a bit of an institution; it’s been here quite a long while hasn’t it?
Gerry: With the tea room like this, yes, it has been here twenty years. Before that, for the previous twelve years, I think, it was out the back, and in the front it was a sweet shop and they used to sell bikes. You had to go through a door to the back to the tea rooms. I was working here over twenty years ago and the chap wanted to sell it and so we took it over and moved in.
RL: You still have the back area with seating?
Gerry: Oh yes, for up to fifty people out there. We opened up that side room about four years ago and so now we must have seating for up to about seventy in the shop.
RL: How would you describe the food that you provide?
Gerry: Good home cooking at reasonable prices. We do a lot of our cooking ourselves. I make all our cakes and pies and we do a wide range of food starting with breakfast, with a broad menu, quite a lot on there really since we have such a small kitchen.
RL: What are your times of opening?
Gerry: We open at 9.30am until about 4.00pm, six days a week and then Sundays 10.00am until 3.30pm.
RL: Do you get many people coming in for breakfast?
Gerry: Yes, we get a lot of builders when there is building work going on in Rochford, a lot of youngsters, all ages actually, older people, teenagers, little children on their own, just a wide variety, you can’t say any one age. We may get groups of teenagers at weekends having breakfast, couples with babies, everybody.
RL: How does the day tend to go?
Gerry: You have the breakfasts, then you get teacakes and morning coffee, and then we get busy with lunch. We do roast lunch on a Sunday which is very, very busy, so we’re open seven days a week.
RL: You have gone through phases, I believe of having antiques in here?
Gerry: Yes, we did have but whatever we had was sold or got stolen. I’m afraid we got a lot of stuff stolen out of the windows, people just coming in, reaching their arms in and taking things while we were at the back preparing food, so we just keep it to a minimum now, with just some records. At the moment we have pictures up as part of the Rochford Art Trail, thirty five I think, and many of them are really very good, from the Roche Art Group.
RL: Do you have plans for the future or is it just going to carry on for ever?
Gerry: It’s just going to carry on until I retire, which is some time yet. There’s normally three of us working here every day, and occasionally four, perhaps on Saturdays and Sundays and perhaps Market Day. On Sundays we tend to do breakfasts up until 11.30 and then go on to the dinners, so it’s very busy needing all of us.
RL: Gerry, thank you very much for your time.