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History of Afternoon Tea />

History of Afternoon Tea

Afternoon Tea, there is no activity more British than this afternoon delight. England has a rich history of consuming and enjoying tea, though the concept of an Afternoon Tea is relatively young. In 1840 the first record of an Afternoon Tea was documented and introduced to English society by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford. During this time period it was customary for dinner to be served around 8pm every evening. With such a late evening meal, the Duchess would find herself feeling quite peckish around 4pm everyday. To combat this feeling of hunger she began requesting a tray of tea, bread, and butter to be served to her room every afternoon. This afternoon ritual soon expanded into her inviting friends to join her and the tradition of Afternoon Tea was born.

Afternoon Tea not only served as a way to make it through the day but also to fill one’s social calendar. It was commonplace by the 1880s to see upper-class women change into long gowns, gloves, and hats to enjoy this afternoon tradition seven days a week. Normally Afternoon Tea was served in the drawing rooms of the great English manors but if the cold English weather had stayed away, tea could be served on the veranda in the summer months.

For a traditional Afternoon Tea the most common items you will be served are a selection of dainty sandwiches, scones with fresh cream and jam, and an assortment of cakes and pastries. Because these were upper-society ladies they only drank from the finest tea accessories. Fine bone china tea pots poured tea into delicate bone china cups, nothing less would be accepted.

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