Merry Gourmet Miniatures ©  1988 -  2022.                                              Designed By Bluechip Computer Support

By the early years of the 20th Century summer in the English country house was likely to be a very active affair.

During the week the family were sure to be in their town house in London participating in the varied social scene that was the Season.

But at weekends special friends were invited back to house parties. The upper class education of young ladies was not geared to academic success, but to accomplishments that would help to fill in their leisure time as adults or facilitate the entertainment of their guests.

Embroidery, sketching, reading, practising the piano, painting in water colours were all genteel occupations considered most suitable.

But gradually through the last decades of the 19 Century, a quiet revolution had been taking place, young ladies started to participate in "SPORTS!"

There had always been riding, even if they did not join the Hunt, although many were enthusiastic riders to hounds, now they began to enjoy the outdoor sports that their brothers had been able to participate in for years.

Bicycling, archery, tennis, skiing, croquet, fishing, golf, skating, both roller and ice, boating, yachting, photography, and there was not only lady-like equipment to help pursue it, but suitable clothing as well, specially tailored for feminine  participation.

Shops, especially in London and the larger cities had started to expand their premises and by the third quarter of the 19th Century were beginning to move away from general goods to

One such shop was "Lillywhites", John Lillywhite had taken a stand at the International Exhibition of 1862, exhibiting articles associated with cricket.

The general public showed so much interest that the Lillywhite family, who were all famous cricketers were encouraged to open a retail shop at 31 Haymarket in 1863.

This was the first specialist sports shop and proceeded to be extremely successful, catering for the needs of the new enthusiastic sportsman and woman, so much so that it was not long before it moved to larger premises at Piccadilly Circus.

All those new outdoor activities and the increase in popularity of afternoon tea among the upper and middle classes, gave rise to garden parties specially for one sport or another.

Croquet, tennis, archery etc: a garden table and chairs were set up and tea was brought out either on to the terrace or under a shady tree on the lawn.

Small dainty sandwiches, thin bread and butter, scones and jam, pastry tartlets , fruit cake, seed cake, and of course the reviving cup itself.

Both Indian and China tea were served by the butler or the housemaid to be received gratefully by all the participants after a very invigorating afternoons play.

Afternoon Tea