Beaulieu has opened the newly restored Victorian Kitchen at Palace House, the ancestral home of the Montagu family.
The original kitchen from the Victorian era dated from Henry, 1st Baron Montagu’s enlargement of the house in the 1870s and remained in use until the early 1950s, when it was gutted to make way for a motorcycle display. That kitchen has now been restored to working order and has been opened for visitors to Beaulieu.
Before work could start, an extensive search of the archives and appeal for information was carried out in order to make the restoration as accurate as possible. Only one photograph of the original kitchen existed and showed Annie Louise Freeman at work with two unidentified kitchen maids c.1905. They are seen working at the same table which occupies the centre space of the kitchen today.
Food historian, Dr Annie Gray – presenter of BBC2’s Victorian Bakers, a regular panellist on BBC Radio 4’s The Kitchen Cabinet and author of The Greedy Queen: Eating with Victoria – has been an advisor on the Beaulieu project.
Dr Gray and Lord Montagu’s cook Dena Saunderson will be preparing Victorian dishes for guests at the launch of the new Victorian Kitchen. Visitors will also be able to see Dena dressed in her Victorian cook’s costume and preparing dishes during the school holidays as part of Beaulieu’s living history. Her homemade cakes, biscuits and preserves will also be on sale in the adjoining shop.
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