Talk Focuses on History of Tea in Victorian Era

Mar 20, 2017

The Barnegat branch of the Ocean County Library celebrates Women’s History Month with “Women and Tea in the Victorian Era” on Saturday, March 25, at 1 p.m. The program will discuss how tea was introduced to England in the middle of the 17th century. It was an exotic and very expensive beverage. At first it was purchased in coffee houses frequented only by men.

By the middle of the 19th century the price of tea was no longer exorbitant, and the beverage was consumed on a regular basis by all classes. The talk will focus on how tea had an impact on both upper- and working-class women and how the brewed beverage affected women’s social events, dress styles, business ventures and health.

There were two kinds of tea services, namely, high tea and low tea. The upper echelons of the British society took low tea. This meant that the tea was accompanied by small snacks and not proper food. Low tea meant more conversation and less food. In contrast to this, the high tea was partaken by the lower classes of the British society, which was accompanied by a proper lunch.

The latter part of the Victorian era saw the industrial revolution take off in full swing. The workers, after coming back home tired, would want something refreshing and light. They would be hungry as well, so bread, meat, fruits and vegetables were also served along with the tea. Hence the term “high tea” was coined.

Prior to the program, the branch will serve tea and light refreshments beginning at noon.

To register for the tea and the program, call the branch at 609-698-3331. E.E.

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