Afternoon Tea

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Afternoon tea, that most quintessential of English customs is, perhaps surprisingly, a relatively new tradition. It was not until the mid 19th century that the concept of ‘afternoon tea’ first appeared.

Afternoon tea was introduced by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o’clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter (some time earlier, the Earl of Sandwich had had the idea of putting a filling between two slices of bread) and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.
This pause for tea became a fashionable social event.
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