Table Heirlooms

These napkin rings belonged to the Wilson family of Berry.  James C Wilson (1834-1901) emigrated to Australia in 1857 and found work on the Berry Estate, before co-founding Wilson and Co. Store, establishing other business interests that included coal mining, and becoming Berry’s first Mayor.  Around 1880, with wife Robina nee Tait (1849-1918), the Wilsons […]

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What Rhymes with Porringer?

If someone were to politely offer you ‘a little silver porringer of hot terrapin’ would you eagerly accept, respectfully decline, or ask for more information? While such an offer might bewilder contemporary diners, an 1880s gourmet would lick their lips in anticipation of tucking into some creamy turtle soup served in a small silver bowl. […]

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In the Soup

Soup was an important part of nineteenth century dining. In her 1863 book of household management, Mrs Beeton devotes fifty pages to soup, ranging from the cheap and cheerful ‘Hodge-podge’ to turtle soup – ‘the most expensive brought to table’. Soup was always the first course at any meal, and in wealthier households was brought […]

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Handsome Gifts

A dinner set has long been one of the most useful wedding gifts a couple can receive. Historically, porcelain and bone china tablewares were both highly valuable and fragile, so many recipients only dined on them on special occasions. But this cream earthenware set, probably given to Lurlie (Lurline) (née Bailey) and Arthur Jakins, as […]

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Crockery Craze

On arriving back to home to Coniston in the 1940s, Doris Grace Hall (née Garrad) (1909-2001) likely took this fine bone china sugar bowl and creamer jug from her suitcase, carefully shifted other pieces around in her china cabinet, and proudly placed them on the shelf. Perhaps they always remained there, never to be filled […]

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