Our story

Our story dates back to 1907 and Ringtons still remains a family business today. Take a look at our journey through the years.


Samuel Smith OBE moved from his home town in Leeds and began selling tea from a horse and cart in Newcastle Upon Tyne. He started with an initial investment of £250 from William Titterington. The company rapidly expanded and one year later Sam needed two horses and four assistants!


Samuel bought Titterington’s share of the company. Sam’s son Douglas joined the company as a tea boy. It was a hard time during WWI as sales and rationing laws were put into place. Twelve Ringtons employees were sent to war and fortunately all returned in 1918.


Ringtons bought two motorised vehicles to assist with the deliveries and opened a new Head Office on Algernon Road in Byker, Newcastle Upon Tyne. Ringtons range also expanded to include the popular Chintz and Willow patterned ceramics.


Ringtons was seriously affected by WWII as over 400 employees, including Samuel’s four grandsons, were called up to fight and by 1943, 200 vans were taken off the road. The surviving servicemen, including Sam’s grandsons, returned to work for the company. Samual Smith passed away in 1949 aged 77 and his sons took on the business.


By 1954 all but one of Ringtons doorstep delivery rounds were being made by motor vehicles. Eight years later the very first tea bag machine was installed in the Ringtons factory on Algernon Road.


In 1972, Douglas’ sons Johnnie & Douglas Jr took over at Ringtons and Johnnie’s eldest son Nigel also joined the business as trainee buyer.


Throughout the 80s, Nigel’s brothers Simon and Colin joined the business and were able to gain valuable and expert knowledge from all over the world. Over the next 30 years, the fourth generation of the Smith family brought in many changes, including the introduction of innovative vacuum-packing techniques and the construction of a custom-built factory in North Tyneside.


We started selling our tea online, as well as introducing coffee products and investing in a factory extension.

From our family to yours. We are proud to be a 5th generation family business to this day, with tea firmly at our heart.


Now, 117 years after Sam Smith began the business, we continue to deliver door to door to over 220,000 customers throughout the UK. From humble beginnings in Newcastle Upon Tyne, we're now in our 5th generation of family members with 25 locations across the country. Our salespeople battle through all weathers to make sure that our customers get their regular delivery.

We also provide the nations’ superior cafes, restaurants, hotels and workplaces with the best tea and coffee via our successful wholesale division. Our online store allows customers all over the world to get Ringtons deliveries, from our highest quality teas and coffees to our fantastic range of biscuits and sweet treats.

Looking Back - 1932

A Ringtons History – Logos Through the Ages

Learn more about the history of the Ringtons logo and how it's changed over the years.