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Running a Household
Recipe books, bills, and domestic accounts are found in many collections of family archives. They show how households functioned in the days before supermarkets and modern labour-saving gadgets.
Elenor Mundy's recipe book,
dated 1728, is handsomely illustrated with the picture of
a beehive, often a symbol for industry. Some of the contents
are attributed to neighbouring ladies from the Derbyshire-Nottinghamshire
area. A number show knowledge of foreign tastes and ingredients,
such as "Coree. An Indian dish", and "Le Beuf Royall. From
As was usual, Mrs Mundy included prescriptions for cordials and even offered recipes for beauty products, such as a water for freckles.
A bill submitted by James Watkins to Mrs Marriott, a century
later, concerned the provisioning
of the family kitchen. It lists the vegetables which
were bought and planted. The work earned Watkins a mere £3
for 30 days of labour. A difficulty in securing prompt payment
is indicated by the note that £9.9s.6d is carried over from
Mrs Marriott's account book for July 1804 records some of her "house expenses". Other pages show that these were incurred in the course of journeys made across the country, from Lyme to Worcester and back.
Further sources relating to this subject area are held by Manuscripts and Special Collections at King's Meadow Campus. See our website for information about our collections and catalogues.