John Watt & Son
John Watt & Son have roasted Coffee in Carlisle since their original shop opened in Glovers Row in 1865 our blending recipes are closely guarded secrets which have evolved and been handed down over the past 150 years.
1865 - First opening of a shop on Glovers Row in Carlisle City Centre standing near the Market Cross selling local produce, blending tea and roasting coffee.
1897 - Relocated the short distance to 11 Bank Street after Glovers Row got demolished. The rent was paid for not with money, but with 6 cases of dog meat. This was the only form of payment requested by the solicitors Bright, Brown and Strong who occupied the offices above the shop.
1916 - Founder John Watt died and the business was carried on by his son Henry.
1943 - Henry died and his widow formed a partnership with Fred Hodgson, a prominent Carlisle City Councillor and respected grocer who continued to run the business until 1960's
1960's - When Fred died the business was sold to Ashley Kendall and his son Ashley Kendall Junior who ran it for the next 40 years. During this time the rise of self - service supermarkets and out of town shopping centres saw the demise of traditional grocers.
1982 - The original grocers shop was transformed into a tea and coffee specialist with the focus being the freshly roasted coffee, creating one of the "smells of Carlisle", the other being the Carrs biscuit factory on Caldewgate. This left space in one half of the shop for a small cafe serving the freshly roasted coffee and speciality blended teas along with local produce.
2015 - Carol and Cumbrian born Peter Johnston became the custodians of John Watt & So, one of Carlisle's oldest businesses to use their passion for local products and excellent customer service to enable John Watt & Son to survive another 150 years. They soon increased the wholesale customers which meant that the 1952 Uno roaster in Bank St didn't have the capacity to keep up with demand.
2017 - May saw the partnership between the Cumbrian Museum of Military Life at Carlisle Castle and John Watt & Son begin with John Watt taking over the running of the cafe in the museum. July saw the Blackfriars Roastery opening with a 15kg roaster to meet this demand. The roastery has a small cafe alongside to allow discerning customers to experience the smell of roasting coffee whilst enjoying their coffee. Customers can also undertake a "Roasting Experience" to acquaint themselves with the intricacies of coffee growing and roasting led by our esteemed roaster. In Aug the 1865 Espresso was awarded a 1 star Great Taste Award, along with the Nicaraguan Fairtrade Coffee.
2018 - The Armistice Memorial Blend Tea was awarded a Great Taste 2 star Award. This tea was carefully blended by our Bank Street Manager to reflect the type of tea which would have been drunk in 1918 and was named to commemorate the Armistice at the end of The Great War.
2019 - John Watt & Son were asked by Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners to run the Courtyard Cafe at The Rum Story in Whitehaven
2020 - John Watt & Son started supplying The Fell Store with amazing coffee bags for everyone to enjoy delicious coffee wherever you are in the world.