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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

 

Food for Thought: From Earl Grey to Beef Wellington

People are often remembered for their deeds, some are frozen in time by statues, remembered in a street name, or by the famous blue plaque that adorns many houses in Great Britain. There are a select few however that are immortalised in food and EUFD, the Europeana Food and Drink Picture Library, has matched up some famous foods from the picture library. This is the second part of our gallery of famous foods, from Napoleon’s Brandy to Crêpe Suzette and now to the British specialties.

The Right Honourable Charles Grey , 2nd Earl Grey ( 13 March 1764 – 17 July 1845 )

The Right Honourable Charles Grey was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 22 November 1830 to 16 July 1834 . A member of the Whig Party , he backed significant reform of the British government and was among the primary architects of the Reform Act 1832 .

The 2nd Earl Grey famously gave his name to an aromatic blend of tea after he reputedly received a gift of tea flavoured with bergamot oil.

EUFD002485 – TopFoto / EUFD & EUFD0105250 – ThePictureKitchen / EUFD
EUFD002485 – TopFoto / EUFD & EUFD0105250 – ThePictureKitchen / EUFD

The 4th Earl of Sandwich 1718-1792

The sandwich is said to be named after 4th Earl of Sandwich after he frequently called for the easily handled food while entertaining friends.

EUFD002483 – TopFoto / EUFD & EUFD101529 – ThePictureKitchen / EUFD
EUFD002483 – TopFoto / EUFD & EUFD101529 – ThePictureKitchen / EUFD

Queen Victoria (1819 – 1901)

Many foods are named after Queen Victoria who reigned for 63 years. There are for example Victoria plums or as shown, a piece of Victoria sponge cake dusted with icing sugar and filled with strawberries and cream.

The pictures display Queen Victoria in in coronation dress 20 June 1837 and in 1887.

EUFD002475 – TopFoto / EUFD & EUFD105056 – ThePictureKitchen / EUFD
EUFD002475 – TopFoto / EUFD & EUFD105056 – ThePictureKitchen / EUFD
EUFD002471 – TopFoto / EUFD & EUFD101569 – ThePictureKitchen / EUFD
EUFD002471 – TopFoto / EUFD & EUFD101569 – ThePictureKitchen / EUFD

Portrait of the Duke of Wellington by Goya &  Beef Wellington

It is believed Beef Wellington was named after the Duke of Wellington, British hero of the Battle of Waterloo.

EUFD002476 & EUFD002477 – TopFoto / EUFD
EUFD002476 & EUFD002477 – TopFoto / EUFD

Arnold Bennett, English novelist (in 1931)

Omelette Arnold Bennett (bottom) which is an unfolded omelette with smoked haddock was invented at the Savoy Hotel and named after the English novelist who wrote a novel called Imperial Palace in 1930, based on his research at the hotel.

EUFD002488 & EUFD002487 – TopFoto / EUFD
EUFD002488 & EUFD002487 – TopFoto / EUFD

In the spirit of maintaining good relations through food, the Europeana Food and Drink project has combined a rich display of food and drink cultural heritage imagery, now available to license for publication. Much of the collection is on offer for the first time to publishers and illustrates the depth of local cuisine giving a new insight to the traditional EU dish as it has migrated and adapted across the world. From simple ingredients, cooking utensils, and baking techniques to complex dishes and the many characters that are involved in the food industry, the EU Food & Drink Picture Library (EUFD) illustrates food and drink history in photographs, artwork and objects.

The EU Food & Drink Picture Library is managed by the Europeana Food and Drink project partner TopFoto.co.uk. For further information, have a look at http://eufoodanddrink.eu/.

By John John Balean, TopFoto