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Tea Caddies

Tunbridge Ware Tea Caddy

The British and the very word ‘Tea’ are related in the same manner as ‘Strawberries and Cream’ , ‘Bread and Butter’ or ‘Bacon and Eggs’. In short for generations we have been in love with this onetime exotic and expensive beverage.

Throughout the 18th and early 19th century  tea had been stored under lock and key in equally small yet expensive tea caddies fashioned in wood, silver, ivory and tortoiseshell.

In the Regency period both rosewood and satinwood proved popular choices and by the time Queen Victoria ascended the throne rosewood and walnut  tea caddies and those in Tunbridge Ware, made by makers such as Henry Hollamby ,soon became firm favourites with the growing middle classes.

Tea was to remain an expensive commodity for much of the Victorian age with the keys to the tea caddy restricted to either the lady of the house, the housekeeper or ,in the more well to do circles, the butler.

However in the later years  of Queen Victoria’s reign the importation of black teas from India saw a massive decrease in prices allowing the working classes access to a beverage championed by those who took the pledge to remain ‘Tea Total’ and a replacement for "small beer". The British love of tea continues to this day although this has been reduced by cheap coffee. Only the Irish and the Turks drink more tea per capita.

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