April 28, 2015

Fancy a Cuppa? Taking Tea in the Thirties

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 9:06 am by historywardrobe

1930s lime green gown and bolero jacket... and my grandmother's art deco china

1930s lime green gown and bolero jacket… and my grandmother’s art deco china

There’s so much to talk about over tea in the Thirties…

Did you see the new Clark Gable film at the pictures last night..?  Have you heard the latest about the Abdication Crisis on the wireless..?  Wouldn’t you just love to cruise across the Atlantic in the super fast ‘Queen Mary’..? 

Open the newspaper to read about weddings, coronations, invasions, Olympics… and that man Hitler.

These are modern, fast-moving times.  You might have driven your automobile to the tea shop (stopping at newly-invented zebra crossings, I hope; observing new cat’s-eyes road markings, and possibly parking in a new multi-storey car park).  The cafe table cloths might be laundered in an automatic washing machine – although boiling water poured from a height is also recommended for removing tea stains.

At least you won’t be bothered by people talking on mobile telephones.

What will you be drinking…?

Tea, of course.  Made from steeped tea leaves and served in china cups with saucers and tea spoons (one lump or two?)  Or on a hot summer’s afternoon perhaps some home-made lemonade, with enough real lemons to make you wince.  There’s coffee too.  Instant coffee that take seconds to make (caffeine-free also available).  No fancy lattes, moccachinos or expressos – just with milk or without.  All to be chased down by a cigarette or two (Good for the lungs, dontchaknow).

What will you be eating?

There are many familiar products in the 30s, from Birds Eye custard and Ovaltine to Ryvita and Bourneville chocolate.  But

A perfectly pretty pink cake from 1936

A perfectly pretty pink cake from 1936

it’s cakes which reign supreme at a 1930s tea table.  Fluffy Victoria sponges squishing layers of fruity jam and fresh cream… cherry cake, chocolate cake, short bread, gingerbread, almond biscuits and coconut pyramids, all dusted with delicate icing sugar.

Not good for the figure?  Fear not!  Marmola Anti-Fat pills promise to melt away the pounds; Beasley’s Reducing Corset controls unruly curves.  For an extra healthy look, Kolynos toothpaste whitens tea-stained teeth and Beecham’s pills soothe a sour stomach.  (And if you’re worried about being too, too thin, Beautipon amazing vegetable flesh forming paste will give you curves in all the right places.)

Need a little extra help?  Then men – strap on your Linia abdominal belt! Women – wiggle into your rubber roll-on girdle!

Delightful fashions c 1931 - not much room for cake in these long lines

Delightful fashions c 1931 – not much room for cake in these long lines

Most importantly: what will you wear to tea?

Ah, for that information you’ll need to see a performance of the History Wardrobe presentation Tea Gowns & Tea Time with a tempting display of vintage fashions and a simply smashing insight into taking tea 30s-style.

For more details on events near you, see the History Wardrobe diary.  And bon appetit!

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