A Short History of Tea in English Homes.wmv

A Short History of Tea in English Homes.wmv


Drinking tea is often seen as a very
English tradition but for most of history this is not the case. Before tea came to England it already had a
long history in China where people have been drinking for over four thousand
years. When tea arrived in English home in the late 1600s, it was hugely expensive. In the 1690s the Countess Argyll
paid over £10 for just six ounces of tea that’s £26 per pound, at a time when her estates lawyer earned
£20 a year. Over time tea became cheaper to buy and soon was within reach of the middling classes. Tea was not only fashionable it was also considered to be good for your health Thomas Garway the first man to sell tea in England claim the drink declared to be most wholesome preserving in perfect
health until extreme old age. Tea was also publicised as a healthier alternative to alcohol which had been the stable drink of the population for centuries. The first ships that brought tea from China took over a year to make the journey but the English with their growing obsession with tea could not wait that long By the mid-1800s much
faster ships called clippers raced to be the first to return with the new
season teas, with people taking bets on the winner. Tea was so expensive and taxed so highly in the 1700s that smuggling was rife even respectable people bought smuggled
tea for their homes. The Rev. James Woodforde records in
his diary that “Andrews the smuggler brought me this night about 11 o’clock, a bag of Hyson Tea… He frightened us a little, by whistling
under the parlour window, just as we were going to bed”. Household servants were sometimes accused
of stealing their employers used tea leaves to resell in order to make money. Jonas Hanway complained, “Your maids sometimes dry your leaves and sell them the industrious nymph who is bent on gain, may get a shilling a pound for such tea.” The reselling of used tea was possible because for most of its history was sold as loose dry leaves. Tea in England was always accompanied by sugar and many people added milk, although this is something the Chinese
never done. The loose leaf tea was locked up in caddies or containers in peoples homes. Only the family would have the keys to these
containers tea was far too expensive to trust the servants with so usually it would be the lady or the gentleman of the house who would make conserve it. Hot water would be brought by servants to the room tea was served it was then poured into an urn from which the teapot could be filled. At first tea was drunk after dinner in upper class homes, it then became common to take tea at breakfast and the 1800 the ritual of afternoon tea was created to fill the gap between lunch and dinner. Hosting and attending afternoon tea became an important part of the fashionable woman’s social life. When the first tea was imported from China, porcelain tea pots and tea bowls arrived with it. In China tea was drunk out of small bowls without handles and at first English people also used tea bowls. The exotic porcelain imported from China was very popular and demand soon outstripped supply. It was not long before European manufactures started trying to copy the Chinese wares. This tea bowl despite its oriental appearance was actually made in Worcester in 1758. Early English porcelain could not match the quality of the Chinese imports and would often crack when hot water was poured into it. Eventually European potters mastered the art of porcelain making and the teacup with a handle was developed in the west At first tea bowls and tea pots were bought separately and sets did not quite always match eventually English manufactures started
selling whole tea sets which included cups, saucers, teapot and the jug and bowl for the milk and sugar Tea sets have continued to change over time often reflected changing fashions and
styles. Today many English people will drink their tea from a mug rather than a fine porcelain many people don’t use a teapot at all, and almost 90% of tea made in England today is brewed using a teabag. English people now drink an average of 3 tea cups per day that 74245 cups in a lifetime. It would seem that tea is more popular
today than ever before.

8 thoughts on “A Short History of Tea in English Homes.wmv

  • The History Channel in the US said tea arrived in the UK in 1664, but from what I know, this is incorrect.  Queen Elizabeth was drinking tea in the 1590's.  Even Thomas Garway (in your video) made his statement in 1660.  Tea had to be getting quite widespread by then.

  • why do english people like tea and y the buck would peopel steal tea and resale it wtf please tell me i really want to know

  • That girls voices hot. Without British accent, add the British accent and it's even hotter. If the team was any where near that Hot your mouth will get annihilated.

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