Monday, 19 September 2016

London's Baking

We were in London over the weekend of the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire, and happened to go to the London Metropolitan Archives, where they had an exhibition to commemorate it. (Although actually the exhibition runs until February next year.)   It's called London's Baking - Bakers, Cakes, Bread and Puddings from 1666, up to the 20th century.  (The connection with the Great Fire being that it started in a bakery, allegedly in Pudding Lane, although the exhibition suggests that is wrong.)   The exhibition featured photographs from the LMA collection featuring various baked goods (making them or eating them), and recipes from 1666 onwards, with comments from people who had tried them with modern tools and ingredients.  (The exhibition said, I'm sure, that the recipes would be available to download from the LMA web site, but I can't find them so perhaps I was wrong.)

Knitting interest: one of the photos on display showed boys eating buns in 1924, all wearing woolly jumpers.  Here's a detail:

It's from Collage, the London Picture Archive, image no. 301891 (by permission of the London Metropolitan Archives, City of London).   It was taken in Hastings in 1924, and the description in the archive says "children sitting in a park scream as they hold cakes in their hands".  I think it's more likely that the photographer asked them to pretend that they were about to take an enormous bite out of the bun in their hand.

They are all wearing jumpers with collars, and the boy on the left, with a stripe on his collar, is wearing matching knitted shorts.  (They may all be wearing knitted shorts to match their jumpers, in fact, but it's hard to tell from the photo.)  The boy on the right looks as though his jumper is a hand-me-down - it looks a bit felted, and the sleeves are too long for him.  The boy in the middle, on the other hand,  has been dressed rather smartly, with knee-socks to match his jumper and shorts, all in an impractical light colour, and a tie.  He's also the only one whose socks haven't fallen down around his ankles, 'Just William' style.

We have lots of patterns for similar boys' knitwear from the 1920s, with illustrations carefully posed and photographed to show off the outfit.  I think this is a nice image of what the outfits looked like on real boys, having fun on a day out.

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