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The Invention of Afternoon Tea


A tribute to the 7th Duchess of Bedford...thank you Anna


In 1840 Anna Maria Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford, tiring of an afflicting sinking feeling at round four in the afternoon as evening meals in the early 19th century being served between 8 and 9 pm and perhaps wanting another opportunity to socialise, Anna asked for a tray of tea , bread and butter, and cake be brought to her private rooms.

In 1840 Anna Maria Russell, 7th Duchess of Bedford, tiring of an afflicting sinking feeling at round four in the afternoon - as evening meals in the early 19th century being served between 8 and 9 pm and perhaps wanting another opportunity to socialise - Anna asked for a tray of tea , bread and butter, and cake be brought to her private rooms.


Quickly establishing this routine as habit the Duchess soon invited high society ladies to her private rooms to indulge in #tea and light food. And thus a new social event was established.


By 1880's ladies donned long loose waisted tea gowns of soft fabric, embellished with lace. Tea services kept up with the fashion and side plates, bread and butter plates and cake stands took pride of place in drawing rooms. And Josiah Spode's invention of bone china added delicacy to every afternoon tea.

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