We’re proud of the history of our beautiful Edwardian town house so we thought it would be fun to take a step back in time and find out how revellers enjoyed themselves during the height of Edward VII’s reign. Join us on a journey through time and learn how to party like it’s 1899! (Or rather, 1901-1910 which was the duration of Edward VII’s reign and the period generally referred to as the Edwardian era. Not as catchy though, is it?)
The social scene
The turn of the century saw the end of the long reign of Queen Victoria and the dawning of a new and exciting age of social change. The upper classes enjoyed an extravagant lifestyle and liked nothing more than an indulgent party. The lady of the house took great pains to be a good hostess, it was in fact, considered her main role in life, so parties really were something pretty special. This continued into the post Edwardian era and hence we were chosen as the location for a Downton Abbey Christmas Special!
Edwardian dinner parties could stretch to 8, 9 even 10 courses! Dishes were rich and a lot of meat was served, probably because it was an extravagant sign of wealth and Edwardians enjoyed showing off. Typical menus would have included a soup to start, followed by a fish course. Then an entrée (possibly a vol au vent) and then the most substantial course called ‘a remove’ which would often be a joint of meat or a pie. The roast course came next, of often a game bird, then a series of three courses called entremets. This trio often comprised of a dressed vegetable dish, a cheese plate and some other savoury offering. Each course was served with a different wine, Champagne, port, sherry or fortified wine. Dessert was then served, followed by fruits and nuts. And in case that wasn’t enough, the meal was finished with coffee for all and cigars for the men.
Foodbydish can offer a choice of menus to suit your requirements for your events. If you would like to try an eight-course meal we are happy to oblige or equally our three-course menu choices with canapés before and coffee and petit fours after are very tasty!
An Edwardian garden party was an elegant affair. Often centred round croquet or tennis matches, the gathering was relatively informal and began at around 4 in the afternoon. Women would wear light summer frocks and might have carried a parasol to protect them from the glare of the sun. A substantial supper in the main house sometimes ended the day, unless the invitation extended to dancing which would take place outside under the moonlight. During the evening, the trees and tents would be festooned with lanterns creating a romantic atmosphere.
Try to re-enact this wonderful scene on our stunning roof terrace and within the gorgeous Argyll Room. We can provide different lighting options, music and you can dance the night away until 9.30pm outside and continue in the Argyll Room until Midnight for your summer soiree.
The emergence of the gramophone played a huge part in the development of the music scene in Edwardian Britain. People of the middle classes could now access music hall songs, opera and classical music at home, which injected new life into home entertaining. As the world opened itself up and people began to travel more, music from around the globe began to infiltrate and towards to end of the Edwardian era early Jazz had begun to break through.
It might not be possible for you to replicate a shooting party at a country manor or a 10-course meal for your next event, but there are lots of fabulous ways you can include a nod to the era with a touch of Edwardian elegance. Having your guests greeted and served by staff dressed as butlers and waiters in period costume would set the scene of an occasion dinner beautifully. Card tables for after dinner entertainment would be fun for guests and you could stretch your menu to a 5-course tasting meal with accompanying wines in honour of the Edwardian tradition. If you’re organising a summer event, mini croquet will prove hugely popular amongst your attendees – you could even hire a gramophone to provide your music for the evening.