British Easter in Black & White

Happy Easter to everyone!

For this year’s Easter celebrations, we are doing a little time travel into the last century, to the United Kingdom in the 30ies and 40ies. Hand-picked black & white images by the Europeana Food and Drink partner TopFoto, also featured via our Picture Library  show British traditions and spring scenes, also depicting limited supplies and shortages for post-war Easter celebrations.

Hot Cross Buns & Fish for Good Friday

Traditionally, Hot Cross Buns are eaten for breakfast on Good Friday, being the only luxury afforded during this time of mourning. According to a legend, in A.D. 1361 a priest at St. Alban’s Abbey in Herfortshire gave these to the poor on Good Friday, and the tradition was born.

Hot Cross Buns Contest in London, March 1932 and The making of hot cross buns, March 1923
Hot Cross Buns Contest in London, March 1932 and The making of hot cross buns, March 1923

22 March 1932: Finding Britain’s champion hot cross bun eater. A contest is taking place at the East Ham skating rink in London to find the champion eater of hot cross buns. Competitors must eat as many buns as they can but must not take more than two minutes per bun. Anyone exceeding this time is disqualified.

Billingsgate Fish Market, April 1936 and
Billingsgate Fish Market, April 1936 and Preparation of Hot Cross Buns, April 1947

4 April 1936: Billingsgate Fish Market is already working at top pressure to deal with the terrific demand for Good Friday fish . The approach of the Easter festival means greatly increased work for Billinsgate , which has to supply eight million Londoners . The photo shows the busy scene at Billingsgate Market .

3 April 1947: Girl workers at the Cadby Hall bakeries of J Lyons and co, prepare for dispatched part of the huge number of hot cross buns baked the Good Friday. In this year of bread rationing there are hot cross buns for the first time.

Easter Eggs and Special Treats
Chocolate Easter Eggs, March 1947 and
Chocolate Easter Eggs, March 1947 and The Coles Quads of Pimlico, London

March 1947: Chocolate Easter eggs are in great demand this year, but the supply is very limited. Very few manufacturers are making this year owing to the rationing difficulties and shortage of man power. A girl at shuttle worth’s factory handles some austerity two ounce eggs, being prepared for nest week’s rush. In one hand she holds a pre-war chocolate egg for comparison just to torment the hungry buyers. March 1947

The Coles Quads of Pimlico, London, Left to Right Patricia Frances, Edna and Marie are all ready for Easter with their new Easter bonnets and Easter Eggs.

Easter novelties at Pascalls , Mitcham - 19 February 1924 and Dawn the famous Selfridge model and an outsize Easter egg. 17 March 1936
Easter novelties at Pascalls , Mitcham – 19 February 1924 and Dawn, the famous Selfridge model in outsize Easter egg – 17 March 1936

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *