Sunday, 29 June 2014

Slightly amusing aside.

It's been such a lovely autumn, that you'd be daft not to take advantage of the late sunshine to get out and about whilst you can.

Today's sojourn was to Upton House.  I've posted about this many times before so won't bore you with all the details and photos again. Sometimes though, if you're lucky, you hit these National Trust properties when they open parts of the buildings that aren't usually accessible.  Todays treat was a tour of the basements.

One of the things that always amuses me is the human history - not the splendid furnishing or imposing histories, although they are interesting too.  I love evidence of people's lives dripping by.  Like these receipts I found today.

This one is from Fortnum and Mason in London, and I hope you can read the odd collections of items.  I shall have to google Harrogate Bread to find out what it is.  Under all that food is "A tweed brown hat"  Did the cook do the ordering?  Why the pressing need for a felt hat from Fortnums?  Was it for Lord Bearstead?  And what pray, is 1 Zoute Bollen Box?? And, you had to pay 9 shillings and 5 pence (roughly 45p today) for 15 fabric samples. A maid in the same house earned £26 per year.  This is just over 50p a week. Today's average wage is approx £500, making those 15 samples about £480 in today's terms. (I found the wages from an insurance claim for a 14 year old servant who fell whilst carrying a knife and stabbed herself in the thigh.  Her wages were stated on the claim)

Below, petrol is £8 19shillings and 2d for 100 gallons.  Thats 18 times the maid's weekly salary. 18 times today's average wage is £9,000 This makes petrol the equivalent of £90 per gallon, and it's actually about £6. So stop complaining!!   Conversely it could just highlight how low paid people were in the 1930's (depression pre second world war)


  1. Great stuff. I was in Fortnums a couple of weeks ago but didn't spot a zoute bollen box, or any Harrogate bread for that matter. It's all a bit Downton, wouldn't you say?

    1. Definitely! I did google the Harrogate bread but with no luck. They certainly seemed to like it, and it couldn't have been ordinary bread because it was very expensive. Perhaps it was called bread but wasn't - a particularly spongy toffee for example!!

  2. I've no idea what my mother was paid but she left school at 4pm and was in service at the 'Big House' at 5pm and never lived at home again at the age of 14 in 1939.
    Would be child abuse these days!

  3. zoute bollen looks like some kind of fancy biscuit

    How odd to read about it here when I saw it mentioned on FB (I think) just the other day!