During the 1930s, with the rise of Fascism, the city’s suspiciously “un-Italian” businesses began to disappear. It is inexplicable how Babingtons with its name- English Tea Room- in bold bronze characters beside the door, should become fashionable among high-ranking members of the regime, politely served with tea and scones in the first room while around the corner the anti-fascist intelligentsia met to confabulate (with their emergency exit through the kitchens).
After the out break of the second world war in 1941 Dorothy evacuated her mother and four children to Northern Italy, where, in January 1944, Isabel died. It was difficult to imagine how the Tea Room would survive both the war and her loss. And yet, amazingly, when Dorothy managed to return to Rome she discovered that three of the staff, Crescenza, Giulia and Anita had been walking from home to open Babingtons every day, using their own rations to invent nut croquettes, potato-flour bread, chick-pea-flour scones and dried-chestnut-flour cakes. During the whole course of the war, the Tea Room had closed only for a few hours when the Allies’ entered Rome.