Our Daily Bread: tea – time at Cranford part 2

Following on from my last blog ‘Tea at Cranford’, I will now consider the dangers which may have been lurking in those dainty sandwiches, ‘cut to the imaginary pattern of excellence that existed in Miss Matty’s mind, as being the way which...

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Hugh thomson illustration of ladies drinking tea

Tea at Cranford: Charlotte Bronte and the Great Victorian Tea Fraud

Tea plays an integral role in Elizabeth Gaskell’s novel Cranford. Grown in India, a British colony, and imported by the East India Company, tea became a national beverage which could be found in practically every household. But tea was more than just...

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More Manchester women writers – cooking up a storm!

She's credited with inventing the Eccles cake. She wrote one of the two best-selling cookery books of her times - the other was written by Hannah Glasse - and her recipes were much plagarized by Mrs Beeton. And in 1772, she published...

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Elizabeth Gaskell and John Forster: Unitarians, friends and correspondents

London 1849. It is the evening of Saturday, 12 May, and after a visit packed full with social engagements, Elizabeth Gaskell accompanied by her cousin Mary Holland, will dress and go to dine with Charles Dickens at Devonshire Terrace. He is hosting...

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Discovering ‘Miss Thackeray’

Writing a bookplate for a book in the study recently, I came across a Victorian woman writer who was new to me. Lady Anne Isabella Thackeray Ritchie (1837 -1919) was the elder daughter of William Makepeace Thackeray. Known as Annie, she grew...

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