Did you take tea at the original Willow Tea Rooms? Do you remember the dainty cakes and immaculate waitresses?

Did you stroll down Glasgow’s stylish Sauchiehall Street to enjoy a leisurely lunch or afternoon tea?

Perhaps you have photographs of dining there, or old menus or souvenirs that help to tell the story of an important part of Glasgow’s history?

Maybe you have a personal connection to the tea rooms’ original owner Miss Kate Cranston, or the now world-renowned architect who designed them, Charles Rennie Mackintosh?

If so, the Willow Tea Rooms Trust would like to hear from you.

Founded by Glasgow businesswoman Celia Sinclair, the Trust is behind an incredible £10m project aimed at restoring the original tea rooms building to its former glory and creating the city’s first Mackintosh museum.

Work is already well underway and the building is due to open to the public in 2018, just in time for the 150th anniversary of Mackintosh’s birth.

The most elegant of Miss Cranston’s four Tea Rooms, and the only ones where Mackintosh designed both interiors and exterior, the original Willow Tea Rooms in Sauchiehall Street opened in October 1903.

Sauchiehall Street was Glasgow’s most fashionable street back then, and its meaning – ‘alley of the willows’ – inspired Mackintosh and his wife Margaret Macdonald, throughout. At the heart of the building was the elegant Room de Luxe.

Kate Cranston was one of Scotland’s first female entrepreneurs. She was a forward-thinking businesswoman, who was a stickler for training and strict about high standards of cleanliness and service in her establishments.

The daughter of Glasgow baker and pastry maker George Cranston, Kate was a pioneer. Her tea rooms were the first places women socialised outside of the home, without male company, and in that respect, she changed attitudes and laid the groundwork for a cultural shift.

After the death of her husband in 1917, she sold her tea rooms and withdrew from public life. She had no children and after her death in 1934, it emerged she had left almost all of her estate to the poor of Glasgow.

Glasgow artist and textile designer Liz Mackinlay is delighted to see the original tea rooms building being restored as she has a very personal connection to Miss Cranston.

Liz’s grandmother, Agnes Mabel Mackinlay, is a distant cousin of the tea rooms owner.

“I had no idea of the connection until I was at art school,” explains Liz. “My granny lived in a big old house in the west end of Glasgow and she had a dressing-up box.

“As a child, I’d take these wonderful dresses out and parade about in the attic room. It was only when I was older and at art school myself, that I realised one of the dresses had belonged to Miss Cranston.”

Liz stayed with her grandmother when she was a student at Glasgow School of Art and used to paint in the same attic room.

“It was the old billiard room, I think, a beautiful place to work,” she recalls. “My granny used to talk about Mackintosh – she remembered him. But he probably wasn’t too popular with my family, as they ran temperance hotels and he apparently enjoyed a drink!”

Liz also owns a small ceramic ornament of Miss Cranston, and some of the French costume books that inspired her dress sense.

“She had a very unusual look – she insisted on wearing long dresses and petticoats,” says Liz. “The books – Victorian costume magazines, really - are wonderful. The ones I have date back to around 1855 to 1860.”

Liz’s grandmother has made her mark on Glasgow too.

“Funnily enough, there is another tea room link as my granny started up the tea room at Glasgow Royal Infirmary,” she smiles. “I remember going in to help her when I was about 11 or 12. The Mabel Mackinlay Tea Room exists to this day, and her artworks still hang on the walls.”

If you have Willow memories, photos or artefacts you would love to share, please email ann.fotheringham@heraldandtimes.co.uk or call 0141 302 6555.