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When Afternoon Tea First Became Fashionable in Britain

The History of Afternoon Tea

“Afternoon Tea” was a social creation by Anna Russell, Duchess of Bedford in the early 19th Century.

Breakfast in those days was taken at 9 or 10 o’clock in the morning. Dinner was then not until 8 or 9 o’clock in the evening.

The Duchess was finding by 4 o’clock in the afternoon she was feeling a little peckish. The Duchess’s solution to this was to have a pot of tea & a light snack in the afternoon, which was taken privately in her boudoir.

She was so pleased with her new arrangement that she started inviting her friends to join her. She sent cards to her friends asking them to join her for “Tea & walking in the fields”.

Other social hostesses quickly picked up on her idea & before long all London’s elegant society was sipping “Afternoon Tea”, nibbling sandwiches & cakes while having a natter about people, places & events.

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