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Pewter teapot

Like most other areas of life, the diet of rich and poor Victorian families was very different. Meat and fish were expensive, and many working-class families – especially in cities – lived mainly on bread and dripping (animal fat), potatoes and any other vegetables they could grow, beer and tea. Rural, farming families tended to do better, with meat, fresh milk and eggs, and a wider variety of vegetables more readily available.

Pewter teapot, 19th century

All Victorian households had a teapot – including the poorest. Even if it was battered and falling apart the teapot was still the heart of the home. This one has been clearly well used and loved. The minimal decoration and the fact it’s made from pewter show that it would have been relatively cheap to buy and so came either from a working-class home or was used by servants working in a large house.

Compare this to the silver-plated teapot designed by Christopher Dresser.

Image courtesy of Preston Park Museum and Grounds