Tea Cups and Cakes

Time for Tea

Afternoon tea has become a bit of a British institution but do we know how it came to be so?

Our Vale residents know the precise answer having attended their own afternoon tea with a talk on the subject by Helen Bird, who is well-versed in consumer culture. Helen revealed that it was the Duchess of Bedford who came up with the notion of afternoon tea in 1840. She was feeling hungry between lunch and dinner time and wanted something small to fill the gap. Thus, the ritual of afternoon tea was born.

Whilst residents tucked into a selection of cakes and cups of tea, the afternoon continued with a quiz. This revealed that smoked salmon and cream cheese is the sandwich of choice for afternoon tea in the UK. A cup of English Breakfast tea is deemed the perfect accompaniment.

Conversations turned to where people went to have tea. Lyons Corner House on the Strand was mentioned but some simply preferred or recalled having tea and cake at home.

There was the opportunity to look at a vintage cookbook from the 1950s and people also shared their recipes for the perfect sponge. One resident showed his collection of Wedgewood ceramics including the iconic willow pattern cup and saucer.

With cups drained, there was also the chance to have a quick look at tea leaf reading. Lots of laughter ensued and everyone agreed that it was a fun way to spend a Friday afternoon.