The Social History of English Afternoon Tea

We visited Woburn Abbey last year for an enjoyable garden tour and a delicious afternoon tea, but this event is slightly different. It’s an event to celebrate National Afternoon Tea Week – The Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey presents ‘The Social History of English Afternoon Tea’.

We have reserved tables at this prestigious event on 14th August and the format of the day is:
• 12.30pm – arrival to the Sculpture Gallery
• 1.00pm – Illustrated talk by Gillian Walnes Perry MBE
• 1.45 pm – Afternoon Tea will be served. We are, of course, including a glass of bubbly.
• 3.00pm – Question and answer session.




Woburn Abbey

The Social History of English Afternoon Tea

About this excursion

£28  per person

This fascinating and mouth-watering illustrated talk, with full afternoon teaSculpture Gallery included, covers how tea drinking was first introduced into England, how it was popularised and how afternoon tea became a social institution. Using vibrant on-screen displays, it will include the introduction of delicious tea menu items; the customs and etiquette surrounding afternoon tea; examples of the finest silver and porcelain teaware; the surprisingly risqué connotation of afternoon tea gowns; the rise of public tea rooms and tea dances; the ancient symbolism of birthday celebrations and the current nostalgic popularity of vintage afternoon teas.

Gillian Warnes PerryThe talk is given by Gillian Walnes Perry MBE , writer, speaker and lecturer, recently retired from her full time role as Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Anne Frank Trust UK, while remaining its Honorary Vice President. She has many years’ experience of speaking and broadcasting in the UK and around the world, in venues such as 10 Downing Street and the United Nations.

The English custom of taking afternoon tea was popularised in the 1840s by Duchess Anna Maria, wife of the 7th Duke of Bedford. A Lady-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria, Anna Maria began the custom of taking afternoon tea at around 5.00pm and it became famous at the Royal Palaces and at Woburn Abbey. Anna Maria got what she called ‘that sinking feeling’ at the time, when the custom was to eat a large breakfast, light lunch and a later dinner at 9:00 pm. While labourers sometimes had a small sandwich or scone brought from home with their tea, the Duchess and her friends would have enjoyed afternoon tea in the comfortable surroundings of the Abbey.

The cost of this event includes the talk as described above, afternoon tea in the Sculpture Gallery at Woburn Abbey and a glass of bubbly.  As with all our Dining Club events, this does not include transport to and from the venue.

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