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!”

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”

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”

Postcard Crazy

Picture postcards are an unparalleled resource for local and social historians. The varied collections at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies include thousands of cards depicting local scenes and events in early 20th century Hampshire. The written messages on the reverse can contain fascinating snippets which illustrate the busy lives of our ancestors – everything from ‘Wish you were here!’ to ‘Tell mother I’ll be round at 7’.

Opening day at Kingsworthy Station, 1909, by Charles Beloe (HRO 41M93-26-2) - Copy

Opening day at Kingsworthy Station, 1909, by Charles Beloe (Ref: 41M93/26/2) Continue reading “Postcard Crazy”

Desperate Romantics in Hampshire

The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (PRB) was a group of English artists, poets and critics, founded in 1848 by John Everett Millais, William Holman Hunt and Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The first meeting of the PRB was held at the home of Millais at Gower Street in London.  However, Millais was born in Southampton and his circle did have links with Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Continue reading “Desperate Romantics in Hampshire”


As we approach high summer, with the start of the Test series between England and South Africa and the Women’s World Cup in progress, it seems appropriate to look through some of the sources available at Hampshire Record Office for the history of cricket.

Hampshire is of course known as ‘the birthplace of cricket’, as Hambledon Cricket Club, founded in 1750 was once the most powerful club in the country. It took on responsibility for developing many laws of modern day cricket, such as the addition of a third stump. The Record Office holds a number of records from the club, including a minute book, 1772-1796, which has the following entry for July 1791 where the umpire said ‘I really think the ball hit the ground, but I cannot be positive’.

4M85/1ref 4M85/1Hambledon Cricket Club  minute book 1772-1796 ref 4M85/1 Continue reading “Howzat!”