Friday, 15 October 2010


TEA - 'solaces the evening and welcomes the morning' - Charles Dickens 1860.
some interesting facts about Rosie Lea.
a) by 1900 every adult in England drank around 3 Kg. of tea a year on average
b) The 4 o'clock Tea time served as a mini-meal partly because the average working class adult worked such long hours they didn't eat Dinner until 8 or 9 o'clock at night.
c) There is a close connection between the Slave Trade & the Tea Trade because of Sugar added to tea - sugar from the Carribbean - the 'fruit' of mainly slave labour - 2 lumps ?
d) Milk was not added to tea until around the 1840's mainly because it was an expensive and mainly unknown product for the masses. Before that date most milk in big cities/towns, where the masses lived in poverty, & their own form of slave labour, was produced in 'dairies' where cattle were mostly kept in 'stables' or biers, often under human living quarters. With the advent of the railways, which spread across Britain quickly in the decade 1830 - 40, milk became much more available and cheaper as it was then shipped up from the country in largish milk churns ( 10 gallon) in insulated wagons, after being driven to the railhead in horse drawn carts. It was then delivered by horse & cart where it was ladled out of the churn into jugs at the doorstep. Quite un-hygienically as a matter of fact. 
e) When I was at College, one of my favourite work allocations was 'milk round', when I was able to have the pleasure of driving a horse-drawn milk cart. The horse knew the round by heart & stopped at all the house gates on the round.
So next time you drink a cuppa, think of these interesting facts whilst eating your biscuit.

Courtesy BBC - the history of the World in 100 objects.   

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