Things have not changed that much in the kitchen

WP184 Traditional Kitchen


Here are some kitchen utensils and laundry tools from the Georgian period. We can certainly recognise many of the kitchen items on this wrapping paper/poster. I am going to look at them from the top left moving to the right and then onto the left of the next row.

The box iron with its hollow body held a heated plate of metal and was filled with hot embers from the fire. The wooden handle prevented the user from burning their hand. The tinder box with a candle would have been held by the handle. The tinder box was important for rekindling the fire when it had gone out. It usually contained a piece of charred linen with a flint and steel and a round damper for dousing the tinder after the light had been obtained. Next comes the tin plate candle mould. This would probably have been for beeswax or tallow candles. Next there are a pair of oil lamps which would have provided a low light from where they were hung.

The wooden shortbread mould divides into two to enable the shortbread to be removed in one piece when baked. The spice tin is segmented and would have contained spices such as cinnamon, allspice berries, nutmeg, peppercorns, mace, dried ginger and juniper berries. The small central cylindrical nutmeg grater has unfortunately lost its lid.

The wooden lemon squeezer looks as if it would be quite as efficient as my modern one.

From the laundry department there are the iron crimpers for pleating material. Further along are two pairs of candlewick trimmers.

The ridge rollers were used for breaking up thin oatcakes. The smooth one is to roll out pastry. The whetstone for sharpening knives was very important for the Georgian cook. The glass fly trap is a design used for hundreds of years and you can even buy something similar today. The kitchens were often painted pale blue as the arsenic contained in the blue paint deterred flies. The iron candlestick has a small handle which raises the candle up as it burns down. Everyday plates would have been made of pewter or tin and porcelain plates would have been used for very special occasions or by those who could afford them.

The sugar loaf of compacted  sugar in the shape of a tall thin pyramid would have been cut with the sugar loaf clippers and added to recipes.

The drop weight mousetrap was operated by an internal pedal which, on being touched by  a mouse, released the string held trigger. This type of trap has been in use for many many years too.

The brass spill holder would have held the spills to light the candles and fires. The part glazed earthenware bowl is full of dried fruit. From the laundry again is a tally iron.

The wooden spoon holder or very similar examples would have been found in most cottage kitchens. The heart decorative motif is a common design. The coffee bean roaster would have been held over the fire to roast the precious and expensive beans. The red earthenware pottle is full of chestnuts. The copper kettle would have been kept shining by the maids in the wealthy households and the tiny flat ‘goose’ iron so called because it looked like a goose. It would have been warmed on the bar grate by the fire.  The half copper kettle when placed on a bar trivet against the fire would have heated up the water very quickly. The quart cider mug has traditionally two handles. Cider has always been an important drink in the west country. In the early 18th century the recognised daily cider allowance, whilst harvesting, was a gallon and a half!!! The rushlight holder would have held a poor quality tallow candle. The brass pestle and mortar would have been used to grind down the spices, herbs, sugar and probably some medicines.

The Somerset Owl, as it was called, was an earthenware vessel for storing cider.

A wooden butter stamp would decorate the blocks of butter. Dating from the late Georgian period this metal and wire mousetrap (the ones pictured in the trap are toy mice) would have been placed in the kitchen and scullery. The set of steel skewers would have been hanging near the fire ready to test the meat. Wooden and leather pattens are a kind of over shoe used to walk on muddy or wet surfaces to avoid getting ones feet wet. They were used by all echelons of society.

This flat iron was made and stamped by Kenrick. The salt glazed mould with a swan on the base would have made some very decorative pies. Then we come to the slipper muller. This was used to warm wine over the fire. Another vessel for the same job was the copper conical ale muller.

The glass and steel candle holder is next to the oak coopered jug.

Here is a nursery rhyme from the Georgian period

Pat-a-cake, Pat-a-cake, Baker’s man

Bake me a cake as soon as you can

Prick it, and nick it, and mark it with B,

And put it in the oven for baby and me

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