Tuesday, 02 March 2021

AT the November meeting future trips were discussed, including another visit to the Watermill Theatre near Newbury in February and plans for a couple of nights in Bruges next summer. Definitely things to look forward to.

Our speaker was Richard Kingston who discussed “Antiques and the influence of tea in our country”.

The tea story begins in the east, probably before 300BC.

Tea was introduced in England by the Dutch and was first available at Garroways Coffee House in 1657.

The tea trade boom produced tea pots, cups, caddies etc. Prior to the early 18th century caddies were silver but afterwards walnut and mahogany were used.

The original caddies were plain boxes but by about 1780 craftsmen such as Sheraton introduced stringing and inlays.

Silver, pewter and earthenware utensils were used initially and from 1745 the manufacture of soft paste porcelain tea sets similar to those in use today took off. Cup handles were a European development and tea cosies arrived in the 1870s.

Anna, wife of the Duke of Bedford, invited friends to enjoy tea and bread or cake, thus beginning afternoon tea and, later, high tea.

In the furniture world tea tables began to appear, similar to card tables with folding tops. They were normally made in pairs and had polished tops while the card tables were covered with baize.

Altogether a fascinating talk much enjoyed by the members.

Our next meeting will be a Christmas lunch to which wives, partners and guests will be welcomed.

If you would like to join us at our monthly meetings and enjoy the talks with a convivial lunch afterwards and also join the trips, call (01491) 575137 or visit www.henley

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