The Tradition of Tea Time
August 8, 2023
The History of Afternoon Tea
The act of drinking tea has been around for generations, dating all the way back to 300 BCE in China. But following the popularization of tea in England during the 17th century, a new tradition of afternoon tea emerged, thanks to a member of the English nobility.
Anna Russell, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, served Queen Victoria as a Lady of the Bedchamber from 1837 to 1841 and during that time she accidentally invented and popularized the English tradition of afternoon tea, which remains popular across much of the world today.
During the 1800s, the upper-class population enjoyed their dinner at a much later time that we do today. Dinner could run as late 9pm some days and with lunch still happening around noon, the period between the two meals left much to be desired.
Around 1840, Anna expressed her distaste of the long period between lunch and dinner and requested a snack of tea, bread and butter, and cake be brought to her room around 4pm. This light afternoon meal became commonplace for her. She soon began to invite friends to join her for afternoon tea and the idea quickly spread throughout her network of social hostesses. And thus, afternoon tea was born!
Afternoon tea remains extremely popular in many parts of the world, including Canada. You can even attend Heritage Park’s very own Tea on the Verandah every Sunday until Sept. 3! And keep your eyes peeled for upcoming holiday editions of our teas, including our Labour Day Tea on Sept. 4.
Book your tea today by calling Guest Services at 403.268.8500.