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Book Description
c.1855-1971. 4to (24.5 x 19.5cm), [pp. 49 + 39 items laid-in, of pp. 180]. Vellum boards, blind-ruled, hand-stenciled title to upper board: ‘Westminster Asylum/ from Lady day 1827/ to 18 .’ Marbled endpapers. Grubby, large tan stain to lower board, rubbed at extremities. Staunton & Son, Stationers label to front pastedown. Spine cracked at first page, but holding firm. Tabs dog-eared and dust-soiled. Some foxing, ink-stains and juvenile scribbles, some pages excised, a few torn, and others with closed tears at inner margin. Despite the title date of 1827, the earliest entries are dated 1855, including a single entry for ‘Butcher’s account’ and 2/3s of a page covering the ‘Expenses for the Sick at the Home 1855’ [pp. 10], mostly titles, plus a couple of entries]. Else, comprises hand-written recipes (in pencil, blue, red and black pen, [pp. 27]) and newspaper clippings from The Daily Mail (1930s) and Home Chat (1910 and 1930s)) interspersed with loose leaves of hand-written recipes pasted or pinned in ([pp. 12]), or laid-in between blank pages. In total, 39 items are laid-in, including an 8-page letter to ‘Kath’ with recipes, Vivienne Grace Smith’s handmade recipe book (fashioned from greaseproof paper and hand-decorated, [pp. 3 recipes, 5 blank]) and Elizabeth Craig (ed.)’s The Up-to-Date Cookery Book (Bournville-sponsored). A unique item of everyday domesticity.
Dealer Notes
Only glancingly used for institutional accounts, the ledger was re-purposed as a domestic scrap book and contains almost a century’s worth of household tips and recipes. It features recipes identified as in the hand of ‘Grandma Smith’ (late C19th), ‘Aunt Kath’ (early C20th, Bridlington-based) and ‘Vivienne Grace Smith’ (1970s), predominantly for cakes and preserves. The scrapbook speaks to inter-generational familial practices of recipe-sharing, supplemented, from the 1930s onwards, by recipes snipped from newspapers and magazines and taken from sponsored cookery pamphlets, such as Cakeoma (26th edition).
Westminster Asylum, Westminster Bridge Road, Lambeth was founded in 1758 by a group of ‘Noblemen and Gentlemen,’ acting on the idea of magistrate Sir John Fielding to provide an institution for female orphans living within the bills of mortality whose settlement under the Poor Law could not be established. Ranging in age from 9 to 12, the girls were trained for domestic service and taught how to read and write. In 1866 the institution moved to Beddington in Surrey (Westminster Borough Council archive).
Date 1855-1971

Price: £160.00

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