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A radical tea towel

Brits love their tea towels. I’ve blogged about it before.

But now, a British company has given tea towels the radical treatment, featuring tea towels for feminists, vegetarians, liberals and activists. The Radical Tea Towel Company produces tea towels made with Panama cotton, or 100% premium cotton. They will deliver by first class post in the U.K. and by airmail to the rest of the world.

Here are just a few examples!

Keep Left Tea Towel

Suffragette Tea Towel

Nelson Mandela tea towel


Oh, those pesky fine china drying woes!

I have a love/hate relationship with tea towels. I love how they look and feel, but hate how semi-unabsorbant they are. Pretty? Yes. Functional? Well, they’d lose to a Bounty Quicker Picker-Upper every time.

But in researching the history of tea towels (oh, the things I do for you, dear reader), I’ve discovered that that is an unfair comparison to make. Tea towels were never intended to be used as a replacement kitchen towel to dry saucepans and colanders. Tea towels were created in 18th Century England as a towel to dry expensive tea service pieces of china. Hence, its name and the use of linen material so it wouldn’t scratch these fine pieces.

Fast forward to modern America and so many of us use tea towels as regular kitchen towels because, well, we have them around, we don’t exactly have fine
china and they are towels, aren’t they? I suspect we’ll continue to see an increase of tea towels in American homes as the tea towel industry continues to roll out sweet and sassy designs that make buying tea towels an easy sell. Even for those of us who have no business drying fine china.

In that spirit, check out some of these British-themed tea towels from

Shown above, starting at the top left and moving clockwise: London Calling, London, Made in England, Jelly, Family Favourites, Fish & Chips and City Skyline. All are available at, which delivers in the US.