PA2007_091_c.jpg Tray, Serving (1953). Collection of Puke Ariki (PA2007.091).

When the Queen called in at New Plymouth's Criterion Hotel it was not enough just to bring out the best crockery. Such an occasion demanded silver service.

This ornate English manufactured tray was used to serve morning tea to Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh during their brief visit in 1954. It was presented to Silvia and Charles Acheson, managers of the high-profile Devon Street hotel, by Mr and Mrs Kelliher. Henry Kelliher, the managing director of the aptly named Dominion Breweries, had taken a keen interest in the Royal visit as the company owned the hotel.

An inscription on the reverse of the tray reads: "MORNING TEA WAS SERVED ON THIS TRAY TO QUEEN ELIZABETH II CRITERION HOTEL. NEW PLYMOUTH. 9th JANUARY 1954". While copies of the specially printed breakfast, lunch and dinner menus from the visit are held at Puke Ariki it is not known what was eaten for morning tea.

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