On your marks, get set, BAAAKE!

The Great British Bake Off has been back on our screens recently and last nights episode went back in time to look at forgotten recipes. Food and drink have, not surprisingly, been an important part of our past and recipes feature widely in the collections held here at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies.  I’m going to share with you just a few of those that I have found in the archives. So…on your marks….get set…..BAAAAAAKE!

cheriton baker

Baker (probably George Strong) baking bread for sale in Cheriton General Supply Store, c1905, ref: HPP5/4/07

One of my favourite discoveries is a wonderful recipe book and a bundle of loose recipes by E H Eggar of Bentley Green from the mid 19th century.  Recipes cover everything from fish sauce, orange brandy, jams, marmalades, cheesecake, lemonade to the more unusual such as, wassail bowl (a traditional hot mulled drink), calves feet broth, arrowroot jelly (a lightly sweetened trifle) and mock turtle soup (a cheap imitation of green turtle soup often made using calf’s heads).

28M82-F2 selection

A selection of recipes by E H Eggar, ref: 2M82/F2


Lemon cheesecake recipe
‘Juice of 5 lemons 4oz of sugar 2oz of
butter, 4 eggs, two whites well beat
with some of the lemon peel in a
marble mortar till very fine, put
a little thin puff paste into your
patty pans & do not fill them too full
N.B. Do not put the eggs in till last’

E Eggar obviously loved cooking and even wrote a poem entitled ‘Paradise Pudding’

If you’re have a good pudding
Pray mind what you’re taught,
Take two penny worth of Eggs
When they’re twelve for a groat…..
Six ounces of bread
Let your maid eat the crust,
Six ounces of carrots and
Pray pick them clean
Or they’ll grate in your teeth
You know what I mean,

Six ounces of sugar,
Won’t make it too sweet
Some salt & some nutmeg
To make it complete
To this you may add if you’re
Willing and hardy
Some ground lemon peel
And a large glass of Brandy
Adam tasted this pudding
Thought it wondrous nice
So Eve gave her husband
Another large slice.’

A north-eastern Hampshire farm account book and general notebook, from the 18th century, contains recipes for custard and plain boiled puddings as well as how to burn butter. Ways to fry veal and mutton cutlets are also provided. Next to these are also recipes for cures for rheumatism and two recipes for curing piles. The rheumatism recipe was recommended by a ‘worthy Clergyman’ who ‘said it had to his certain experience, a very good effect, upon great numbers of people that made use of it’. One of the recipes for piles needed the juice from bruised bark mixed with cream and then to be used ‘according to discrection’ and that it was ‘recommen’d as an excellent oil for the piles and to be made in the May month’.  Alternatively, you could burn a new cork and use the ashes with hogs lard as a remedy. Hopefully, nobody ever mistook a pudding recipe for a cure for piles!

28M82-F1 pp222-3

Farm account book, ref: 2M82/F1

Recipes can be found in the most unexpected places, for instance in PC 49 David Teague’s notebook, dated 1842, one of the oldest police notebooks we hold. PC Teague, based in Lymington, patrolled the New Forest and he records his daily police duties and activities in the notebook. Unusually, you can discover several recipes written in the back of the notebook, including barley sugars, bulls’ eyes, boiled lozenges, rich pound cake, sponge biscuits, peppermint drops and lemon drops.



PC 49, David Teague’s Notebook, Ref: 200m86

Lemmon drops
‘Grate three large lemons with a pound of load sugar into a plate and a tea spoonful of flour, mix well and beat into a light paste with the white of an egg, drop in on paper with a large dropper, as in No.35. and put them on a tin plate in a moderate oven.’

Recipe books are also found within our regimental collections which perhaps isn’t a surprise considering an army marches on its stomach. Sergeant A Baker records numerous recipes in his Army School of Cookery notebook during a sergeant cooks’ course at Buller Barracks in Aldershot. There are various cake recipes from jam rolls, date pudding, fig pudding, Elizabeth pudding, Hobart pudding, schoolboy pudding and milk puddings and there is even a Christmas pudding recipe with its costs! Sergeant Baker also provides drawings of the stoves that would have been used to cook and bake the various recipes.



Pages from Sergeant A Baker’s recipe book, ref: 170A12W/D/2755

Recipes are also often found in letters with ideas being exchanged between family and friends.  In a letter dated 1857 to Marianne Dyson, Anne Sturges Bourne provides some pudding recipes, including several for apple pie with the apple being ‘boiled before it is baked’. Marianne comments that ‘they are all very good for such as fare eat them.’

Why not try some of these old recipes for yourself and become a star baker! We’d be happy to taste them for you with a cup of tea.

tea and cake

Unknown group shot of 6 women and girls standing around two small tables with tea and cake, outside a house, with two small dolls on the floor.

Matthew Goodwin, Archivist


Passchendaele- We remember

Between July and November 1917, one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War took place, officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres, but to many it is also known as Passchendaele.

Here in our archives, in the collection of the Kings Royal Rifles and Rifle Brigade, is a handwritten volume, one of three, by  Victor Shawyer, bandsman, 1st battalion, Rifle Brigade,  in which he movingly  recalls  his time on the Western Front, including that of Passchendaele. ( reference 170A12W/D/2375). The following are extracts taken from his journal …

16M97_13_11 page 10.jpg

[Victor is shown on the left in the picture] Continue reading “Passchendaele- We remember”

Parish Councils- Local government of a very local variety!

The Local Government Act 1894 created elected urban district councils (UDCs) and rural district councils (RDCs). The act also created elected parish councils as the third tier of local government, except in small parishes of under 300 electors where parishioners could simply have meetings of all parishioners.  Hampshire Archives and Local Studies is the official repository for the records of local government in Hampshire.  However, local government records for Portsmouth and Southampton are held in those cities.  Records for Bournemouth and Christchurch are at Dorset History Centre and records for the Isle of Wight are at the Isle of Wight County Record Office. Continue reading “Parish Councils- Local government of a very local variety!”

The Adventures of the Girl Pat

I seem to have spent a lot of time in the past 12 months talking about the mysterious and elusive Girl Pat. Could it be that you have yet to hear her story?

This year marks the 80th anniversary of the return to British waters of a stolen fishing trawler, known as the Girl Pat, a moment that is captured on film within the collection of Wessex Film and Sound Archive. This in itself is nothing outstanding, but the story that accompanies this diminutive vessel is nothing short of remarkable and throws up some very intriguing questions…

A trawler mystery Continue reading “The Adventures of the Girl Pat”

The Hampshire Viceroys

The 70th anniversary of Indian independence and its subsequent traumatic partition has been the subject of much media attention in recent months. The man chosen by Clement Attlee to be the last Viceroy and to oversee the transition was Louis Mountbatten (1900-1979). Lord and Lady Mountbatten had strong ties to Hampshire and, when in England, often entertained at Edwina’s family home, Broadlands near Romsey.

Hampshire men from all levels of society have served the British Raj, in the civil service, the church or in the army. These connections between the county and the subcontinent can be traced through the letters, diaries and other personal papers held at Hampshire Record Office.

Stratton Park
 Stratton Park
Continue reading “The Hampshire Viceroys”

Hampshire Constabulary Archive

As a historian and former serving member of the Hampshire Constabulary, I am now preforming a voluntary role in the police dealing with history enquiries and archives. Over the years police forces around the country have disposed of thousands of documents and files. This was necessary for lack of space and storage, and (especially in the past) because few saw any need to keep old files. Personnel files however were usually kept, as these might be required for pension purposes. Thus today we have good records of past police officers, and this delights many people searching for ancestors who were police officers. They hold a lot of detail,such as physical appearance and past occupation (200M86 H36 series). Continue reading “Hampshire Constabulary Archive”

Murder in Victorian Havant

Just after six o’clock, on the evening of 26 November 1888, an eight-year-old boy called Percy Knight Searle was murdered in the centre of Havant. His mother had sent him on an errand into town to collect a parcel of shirting from the local draper’s shop. On his return journey Percy was attacked from behind by an assailant lurking in the shadows of a school wall. An attempt was made to cut his windpipe with a pocketknife, but the fatal blow came from a savage three inch deep puncture wound just below the right ear. Percy died minutes later from a haemorrhage to the carotid artery.

Image # 1 Murder of A Boy

‘Murder of A Boy At Havant’ (Illustrated Police News. 8 December 1888). British Library Board

Continue reading “Murder in Victorian Havant”

These are a few of my favourite things…..

With Hampshire Record Office’s 70th anniversary fast approaching I thought it would be nice to share with you some of my favourite items from the archives.  This was no easy feat as there are so many interesting documents in our collection; however, I have kept it short and sweet and managed to narrow it down to my top three.


A page from a World War I autograph book. Continue reading “These are a few of my favourite things…..”

Muniments and memories: 70 years of Hampshire Archives

‘… So what does the ‘M’ stand for…?’

I was asked this question at a recent Archive Ambassadors training session at the Record Office, and had to confess I wasn’t quite sure.

The session was aimed at helping non-professional record-keepers think about ways to organise, reference and catalogue their own archive collections, and we started by looking at the various approaches adopted at the Record Office. I explained that, like car number plates, all our archive collections have unique finding numbers to identify them, and that those deposited before 2000 include the letter M. Continue reading “Muniments and memories: 70 years of Hampshire Archives”

A Lymington gentleman’s shopping

What do the contents of your shopping basket (physical or digital) say about you? They are probably quite revealing about your tastes and your daily life. Just occasionally, we see a glimpse of day-to-day lives of previous generations thanks to the survival of a series of household bills, and one particularly interesting set held at Hampshire Record Office was preserved by Thomas J D Rawlins of Lymington, between 1905 and 1915 (73M81), each year’s bills being originally kept on a metal spike. In this post I will focus on a single year, 1907, to investigate what the Rawlins family was buying 110 years ago.

Bill fan shot Continue reading “A Lymington gentleman’s shopping”

Africa to Cuba and Africa again!

“On the 20th of the 7th month; a party of Negroes, consisting of 14 men, 12 women and 22 children (including one youth  of 18), arrived by the steamer from London, and were located in the inner Court of our old workhouse; having reached Plymouth too late for the Packet by which they had hoped to proceed to Lagos.  It was afterwards ascertained that they were self-emancipated Slaves from Havan[n]a on their way back to their mother country.” Continue reading “Africa to Cuba and Africa again!”

Meeting Austin and Gladys: The work of our external digitisation service

Hampshire Archives and Local Studies (HALS) has provided a digitisation service for external clients since 2013.

One of our first very significant commissions was from the Austin 7 Clubs’ Association.  The added value we could provide was behind our selection for this commission. During the first contact from the group, we identified that, as well as digitisation, the group was looking for other support with its archive. We run regular Archive Ambassadors workshops, mentioned in another blog and, as a result of our making that connection, a delegation from the Association came along to one of these workshops to find out more. Continue reading “Meeting Austin and Gladys: The work of our external digitisation service”