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Carol's simnel cake recipe

Carol's simnel cake recipe

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  • Dish type
  • Cake

Enjoy this fruity simnel cake for Easter, and complete it with a layer of marzipan and eleven marzipan balls perched on top.

11 people made this

IngredientsServes: 16

  • 250g plain flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 175g butter
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 300g sultanas
  • 40g raisins, chopped
  • 125g chopped mixed peel

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:2hr ›Ready in:2hr20min

  1. Preheat oven to 170 C / Gas mark 3. Grease one 23cm tube cake tin.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
  3. Cream butter and sugar together. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla and the sifted flour mixture. Fold in the sultanas, raisins and fruit peel mixing well. Spoon mixture into the prepared tin.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour and 45 minutes to 2 hours. Makes about 16 servings.

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Carol's simnel cake recipe - Recipes

Hi, I'm new to all this baking can I just check is it caster sugar that you used? Thanks

Hi, Yes caster sugar works best, but granulated or light soft brown sugar would be fine if you don't have any caster sugar.

This is my 1st attempt at giant cupcakes wish me luck x

Hi Faceless food i have noticed in your recipe that when you come to adding the ingrediants together you have missed out adding the baking powder,and when it comes to making the frosting you miss out adding the vanilla extract, i hope i have done right in just adding these ingredients in. Looks really nice though just waiting now for it to come out of the oven, thanks faceless food xxx

Oops. Thanks for pointing that out! Hope the cake worked out for you.

Thank you! This recipe is fantastic and makes the most heavenly cake. I baked mine in a Pampered Chef pyrex jug and it turned out beautifully. My daughter crumbled bourbon biscuits into melted chocolate and poured it over the top with strawberry fruit flakes. The most successful cake we've made. Sarah and Christina

Thanks for you comment Sarah, that topping sounds delicious.

excellent thank you this it is the first link i have clicked on and the one i will be using. it is very helpful as my friends boy seems to think im a cake maker lol im far from it really. i have just bought a silicone giant cup cake maker and so his birthday cake will be the perfect opportunity to practice as his mum also wants to make her own cakes for her wedding. neither of us are experts in cupcakes or decorating them but i have a year to practice and plan on making the giant one for her and the groom to cut into on the big day. it also came with a filler as well as the topper. apparently i put the filler cap onto the cupcake base whilst cooking so to give the molded shape i expect to fill. only im not to sure what to fill it with as i wanted a soft filling maybe raspberry or chocolate? do you have any ideas or advice? thanks again x michelle

sorry also i would love to make one for my friends who are vegan. is there any recipe you know of for the giant cupcake as i really dont know any vegan recipes at all x michelle

Hi Michelle, I saw the silicone giant cupcake on TV today, so I know what you mean about the filler. If you want a chocolate filling, I would double the butter cream recipe above, or use my Nutella icing or jam icing recipes, or just fill with chocolate hazelnut spread.

You might need to change the cooking time a bit, as I haven't used silicone mould before.

I have a vegan Victoria sandwich cake recipe, but I haven't tried it as a giant cupcake. You might like to try doubling the recipe and seeing what happens!

If you can't find links to the icing recipes, email me at onykahonie1 at rocketmail dot com (replace the at and dot with @ and .)

Pan Bagnat Aka Soggy on Purpose Sandwich!

Purée the five ripe tomatoes with oil, vinegar, garlic and a little seasoning.

Cut the baguette pieces in half lengthways and scoop out some of the crumb to make room for goodies. (Obviously you will keep the scooped out bread for some other delicious purpose such as these ideas for leftover bread).

Brush the cut sides of the bread with the tomato mixture.

Layer your chosen fillings in one half of each piece of baguette, drizzling with any tomato mix you have left.

Press the tops on firmly, wrap tightly in cling film and chill for several hours, preferably with a weight on top.

Unwrap and slice thickly to serve.

Survival Strategies for Easter

With temptation luring around every corner, Easter can be just as tricky a time for WLS patients to negotiate as Christmas. It can be tough celebrating with friends and family to make wise food choices when there are eggs-a-plenty (and chocolate at that!), rubbing shoulders with pile-’em-high hot-cross buns, Simnel cakes and supersize turkeys and hams that look fit to burst, all on groaning supermarket shelves….with buy one get one free stickers.

Wherever you are on your weight-loss journey, this annual feast can be a testing time, but the secret how not to get snared, is to plan ahead and to embrace the bounty of seasonal fresh foods that come our way this Spring – for these are the real treats of Easter eating.

My latest FREE Easter Newsletter (have you subscribed on the home page for it?) makes the most of these seasonal foods….lamb, watercress/arugula, asparagus and herbs. Latest recipes here will also be geared to the Easter festivities. And there are some special ‘sweet’ treats so that you don’t feel that you are missing out. Check out the St Clements cakes below. The newsletter will be winging its way to you within days!

So if you are thinking and planning ahead then think about my 4 survival strategies for Easter. I hope they help.


* Ask your family and friends to buy you gifts that don’t involve chocolate or sweets/candy. Ask instead for flowers, a CD, a beauty product or some special cookware. These give just as much pleasure and often last longer. Similarly, why not do the same in return. I have hinted strongly that I want a new special egg cup for my breakfast egg….and love this quirky scooter one below!

* If you must have chocolate then think of quality not quantity. Limit yourself to some small amount after a meal. Dark chocolate is better than milk or white … and you’ll be satisfied with less. Consider no added sugar chocolate too … especially in cooking.

* Focus on the easter egg hunt and get out there and get moving. If you find an egg why not donate it to the youngest, oldest or most needy (and I don’t mean you!) in the crowd. It’s always better to give than receive.

* It’s hard if the family focuses on the choco element of Easter … but don’t ban it … that’s a poor idea but do encourage the family to focus on other things too. Why not look at egg staining and decorating instead and perhaps award a prize for the best? Here are some to inspire you….

Saturday, 27 October 2012

October 27th - Bread of life

It's been a little while since i was in any kind of regular routine of bread making, and it's amazing how quickly you forget the little things that make it special. Like the smell of fermenting yeast and dough - instantly memorable yet forgetable. And the weight. Hold a homemade loaf in your hand and the comparison is stunning. Weight for weight you are paying a small fortune for fresh air when you buy an ordinary loaf from the supermarket. Even the artisanal bread on offer seems somehow insubstantial. It's not that I'm in the habit of making rock-hard doorstops, you understand, but homemade bread is generally denser and more chewy and you need less of it to feel satisfied.

We had the first proper hard frost today followed by a blue blue sky with copper beech trees glowing in the sunlight - a sight to rival any Autumn in New England.The Lebanese lentil and chickpea soup i made is left uneaten by my lentil-hating, chickpea-hating sons. Bet you don't have this trouble when folks come to lunch! The second row of logs are stacked and we are ready for all a hard winter can throw at us.I am finding all those junk mail catalogues very useful as firelighters.

You, too, have been using lentils to make supper, but green ones rather than the ordinary red ones i poured into my soup.Your supper is a simple dish of boiled green lentils with red wine vinegar, olive oil and parsley, eaten with slices of ash-rolled goat's cheese. It's probably a good thing you have no inclination to invite my sons for supper, unless you have a very hungry dog to polish up the plates.

I am very taken with your Raspberry vanilla ice-cream cake (pg 316) which relies on nothing more than bought sponge cake, bought ice cream, Raspberries and icing sugar, which is then moulded back and refrozen as a cake.The result reminds me fondly of those simple jam and cream sponge cakes that my mum sometimes bought us for Birthday cakes and that we ate half-frozen with the cream still solid at the centre, rather like those arctic rolls which also hailed from that era and are no longer eaten. A variation you suggest would be to use brioche or panettone instead.

This would be a good recipe for the dark days of January when there is usually a panettone sitting around in a tin wondering what to do with itself. They have an amazing life-expectancy, those crown shaped loaves. I've occasionally come across one lurking in a tin six or more months later, still looking like it could be used, if you dared.Whatever they are embalmed in, i don't know, but if it could be bottled as an anti-ageing formula, some little baker in Italy would be very rich. I love the colourful tins the Panettone come in. Each year i add one to my collection at the start of my preparations for the Christmas season. Sometimes, when there is so much rich food and chocolate on offer, you start to crave the plain and simple as a kind of rebellion against mince pies. These are the days when you head out into the hills for a walk when all around you are sunk into sofas and glued to the box. Ahh, the family at Christmas another tale.

Reading and Writing

It seems weeks since I've settled down to proper work, partly because the Easter break stretched even longer this year. However, it gave me a chance to get out and about exploring, seeing new places and filling that creative well of ideas and inspiration.

As well as having time with the husband, we had three days with granddaughter which was great fun. Younger children certainly do keep the oldies young. It was a great excuse to revisit the steam train (my favourite form of transport), have a paddle in the cold Firth of Forth and become a child again at a brilliant local outdoor heritage site.

In between, we visited the impressive calendar House in Falkirk, where I was fascinated by the Georgian kitchen with its fantastic cooking range, It evidently was the first place to use gas in the kitchen, in the early 1800s. The 'smoke-jack' (fan) turned the cogs to operate the spit! Otherwise, only candlelight was used throughout the house.

I was delighted to see the 150 year-old ice chest which used to be kept in the cellar. The 200 year-old ice house, which was apart from the house, kept ice from the loch frozen for up to eighteen months. The lady telling us about the kitchen was dressed in period costume adding to the fun and she had prepared a basket of coloured eggs since it was around Easter.

These were dyed as follows:

Yellow: from the gorse growing wild
Brown: from onion skin
Red/pink: from beetroot
Green: from spinach

There was even an original Georgian recipe for Simnel cake on display and tiny bits of the cake to try - baked recently, of course! It was slightly different from modern recipes but just as delicious with its taste of almond.

Yesterday, we unexpectedly happened upon a vintage car display at Linlithgow where we'd gone for coffee and a walk by the loch. I love vintage cars and was over the moon when the owner of my favourite 1928 Austin suggested I sit in the driver's seat. I needed no second bidding and it was as gorgeous inside as out. Pity I couldn't have had a wee drive. My second favourite was the open-topped white MG, although I didn't get to sit in that one.

All in all, I've come back from the Easter break inspired to get on with various types of writing again, as well as trying to finish the full length novel so I can go back through and make sense of it. My creative well seems to have filled up with lots of ideas, so I guess we all need that break now and then.


I think I would be out every weekend, if I had all the inspiring locations to visit that you have Rosemary. Thanks for sharing the pictures.x

What an interesting place, Rosemary. And it sounds as if you've been having fun with your granddaughter. I think the little ones love the adventure of a steam train as much as we do! Lovely pictures xx

At the weekend of Latvian culture I was involved with recently, one of the activities was decorating eggs dyed just as you've described. I don't have the patience for such things, but the results of others were very impressive.

We do love getting about, Carol!

Thanks, Teresa - they do keep us young, don't they!

That's interesting they still dye them that way, Julia - think it would be fun!

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Vintage 1960s Cookbook Set, Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cooking, Volumes 4 C-F and 5 F-G, Finnish Creole Cookery, Recipes and Menus

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Vintage 1960s cookbook from the Women's Day Encyclopedia of Cookery".

• Copyright 1966 by Fawcett Publications.
• Two volumes from the 12 volume set. Vol 5 First Edition. Vol 4 Second Edition.
• Volume 4 Cre-Fin and Volume 5 Fin-Gum
• The Table of Contents and Sample recipes shown in the photos.
• Sample recipes:
*Orange Soup (Finnish)
*Hungarian chocolate Frosting
*Eel Stifle
*Simnel Cale (English)
• 11 x 8 1/2 inches. Cloth covered hardcover. Many color illustrations.
• Condition: Very good. Light wear to the covers, but the pages are clean with little signs of kitchen use.
• The photos are part of the description and provide the best condition details and close ups. If you still have additional condition questions, please let me know.

More vintage cookbooks from the 1800s on.

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INTERNATIONAL buyers please take note of possible tariffs, duties, taxes etc in your country of destination.

Hundreds of cool, interesting and unique vintage finds.
More of What's Old in New England.

If you love vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories, please swing by my other shop, Verily Vintage Clothes

A bit about vintage. Most items are used as they are 20-50 plus years old. Sometimes items can be found that have been stored for years and have remained somewhat pristine others have been gently used and may bear the signs of this. Some may be downright shabby from years of use or neglect, but this patina of age can add to its charm. All items are described accurately and photos are provided to illustrate.

July 1957

The date on this post is quite misleading, since many of the photographs are from the spring as well as the summer of 1957, but Cyn recorded in her scrapbook the birth announcements of friends and relatives and pictures of their children, as well as important events in the family. It’s a pity we are missing the July letters describing the making of her new dress and the Garden Party- probably more important than the federal election- but we catch up in August.

“We think she’ll be a sweet little girl & at this point only wish she would.” Note the numbers on the blocks- Bobby was the 4th son in this Costain family.

Summer in England- this is Christopher [Linda’s age]’s little sister.

More cousins- soon to move closer and get to know us.

The Governor General’s Garden Party-quite an Ottawa occasion.

The Governor General’s Garden Party- Cyn made a new dress with her black and white material, and wore her new pink hat! And the newly elected Prime Minister, John Diefenbaker, was there too. Cec’s June birthday on Father’s Day.

And preparations for the new school year to consider!

Category: Vintage

BBC4’s hour-long documentary Hidden Killers of The Victorian Home has been one of my recent television highlights. Dr Suzannah Lipscomb reveals some of the hidden horrors lurking in a typical, middle-class, Victorian home. Joining Dr Lipscomb in her quest to uncover these invisible dangers were a whole host of experts including: Judith Flanders Dr Suzy Lishman Prof. Andrew Meharg Colin King Matt Furber Sarah Nicol Dr Matthew Avison Nathan Goss and Max Wagner.

The Victorian era was a time of rapid change. The Industrial Revolution enabled many to prosper, leading to greater social mobility for some and the emergence of the new middle-classes. Dr Lipscomb states that as a result of Industrialisation, by the end of the Victorian era, 25% of the population were categorised as middle-class. The middle-classes, with their disposable income, were looking to splash their cash. Gadgets for domestic use as well as decorative items for the home were a particular favourite and the Victorian consumer was spoilt for choice. However, in this unregulated, pre-trading standards era, the margin for human catastrophe was huge.

Arsenic and lead were two particular toxins that caused many, often unexplained, deaths. In a time before health and safety dominated our everyday lives, danger, sometimes death, was never far away and could be found in the most unlikely of domestic items. Vivid green pigments in wallpaper contained traces of arsenic, children’s toys were coated with lead paint and feeding bottles for babies were breeding grounds for all sorts of diseases making them one of the leading contributors towards infant mortality in Victorian Britain.

©Come Step Back in Time. Tiny waists, a fashionable Victorian look. Exhibit from the Fashion Museum, Bath.

The fashionable silhouettes of the hour-glass shape or ‘wasp’ waist meant that corsets were very tightly laced and vital organs became misshapen. In the BBC4 documentary there featured a liver specimen from a lady whose tight-lacing habits had put so much pressure on her rib-cage that indentations appeared on the organ itself.

©Come Step Back in Time. Exhibit from the Fashion Museum, Bath.

Whilst researching this article, I found the following which appeared in a newspaper from 1895. The piece discusses both trends and dangers of tight-lacing as well as the gradual move towards dress reform – The Rational Dress Society was established in London in 1881. Although, I do get the impression from reading this article that dress reform is viewed by the author with some degree of suspicion: ‘..The dress reformers who are determined to abolish all waists, no matter how sylph-like or how divine..’ The aesthetic for a tiny waist seems to appeal to the author :

Fads in Corsets Longer in the waist, but not to be laced so tightly. The dress reformers who are determined to abolish all waists, no matter how sylph-like or how divine, will wax indignant when they learn that the latest news of the corset market is the appearance of the longest waisted corset yet offered to women. Heretofore “five clasps and a half” has been considered “extra long”. This gave what the corset experts call a three-inch waist. Women whose anatomy demanded something even longer-waisted than that have had corsets made to order. But now in a few days there will appear a six-clasp corset, and the waist measure thereof will be about four inches – not four inches around, but four inches on the length of the corset bones. This measure of the waist is a term with which most women are not familiar. It means that in bending the corset top and bottom together there is a springy motion which commences a certain distance above the lower edge of the corset. That is the lowest edge of the waist. The point near the top of the corset where the springy action practically ends is the top of the waist. Short-waisted persons may only measure two inches. Four inches indicates that the wearer must either be as slim as a rail or else intend to crowd and crush her vitals into a space that would be almost fatal to a constant wearer after a few years. There is a tendency, however, which all manufacturers and dealers in corsets notice to wear corsets looser than ever… They [dressmakers] say the ambition of a young woman is to show an hour-glass figure. When she wears tight sleeves and narrow shoulders she laces to secure the hour-glass effect. With the immense sleeves giving such breadth of shoulders it would be perfectly ridiculous to lace into a wasp waist. So the dressmakers claim that the big sleeves are saving many women from death by corsets badly worn. The fact that corsets are worn less tightly laced is partly responsibly for this new six-clasp, four-inch waist style.

(The Western Mail, Saturday 11th May, 1895)

Following marriage, increasing numbers of middle-class women found themselves in charge of running a household for the very first time. A great many of these women had little or no prior knowledge of what this new responsibility entailed. It was to this demographic that domestic goddess, Mrs Isabella Beeton (1836-1865), targeted her famous tome, Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861). Apart from multiple chapters containing recipe suggestions, the book also includes advice on hiring and firing staff, first aid, household legal matters as well as a chapter on the ‘Management of Childhood’.

Particularly relevant to this article is Mrs Beeton’s advice on what to do should a poisoning occur in your home. (please do not follow this advice in modern-day cases. For suspected incidents of poisoning,you should seek professional medical help IMMEDIATELY. Extract featured is purely for historical interest.):

When an alkali is the poison, give drinks of weak vinegar or lemonade. When an acid, chalk and water, whiting plaster from the walls, or white of egg if a narcotic, give strong coffee, and do everything to keep the patient awake, walking him about, opening the windows wide, applying cold water to his face, and so on. (p.1874)

©Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. The Pharmacy at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire.

Until The Pharmacy Act of 1868, the sale, dispensing and compounding of poisons was, to a large extent, unrestricted. Arsenic was used as rat poison, sheep dip and on fly papers and thought to be an effective treatment for malaria, asthma, skin problems, rheumatism and even morning sickness. (Victorian Pharmacy: Rediscovering Forgotten Remedies and Recipes by Eastoe, J. and Goodman, R., 2010, p.121, Pavilion Books). In the early decades of the Victorian era, people were largely ignorant of the harmful effects of ingesting, touching or being close to products containing arsenic. The symptoms of arsenic poisoning (fever, chills and sweating) resembled those associated with cholera, which was one of the nineteenth century’s biggest killers, hence mis-diagnosis and incorrect treatment for arsenic poisoning being commonplace.

Mrs Beeton also gives advice on bottle-feeding, which she refers to in her publication as ‘rearing by hand’. Using feeding bottles during the Victorian era was a very popular alternative to breast-feeding. Some of the bottles were earthenware, made in Staffordshire, others were glass. They were very difficult to clean and although bottles were supplied with long-handled brushes to help with the task, these receptacles became silent killers due to the fact that fatal germ deposits gradually built-up over time. This led to bottles earning the nickname, ‘killer bottles’. (please do not follow this advice at home for cleaning your baby bottles, follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Extract is featured purely for historical interest).Mrs Beeton recommends:

There are two methods that may be employed in this artificial system of feeding – the one is to give the child its meals from a spoon, the other is to allow it to suck from a bottle. Of these the latter is preferable. It is most essential to the success of this method of feeding that the bottle or bottles be kept scrupulously clean, as dirty bottles frequently give rise to “thrush”. The best form of bottle to use is the boat-shaped one, with a rubber nipple fixed to the end or neck. No bottles with rubber tubes should be used, since milk sticks to the inside of the tube, and cannot be removed. This milk when decomposed will set-up diarrhoea. The bottle and teat must be scalded after each meal in hot water and soda, the teat turned inside out, and both rinsed in cold water. They then should be allowed to stand in cold water in which a little boracic acid has been dissolved. (p.1914)

I came across in the course of research so many interesting newspaper articles reporting incidents of domestic tragedy from this period. Sometimes death was averted and other times not. Quite a few of the articles specifically relate to the consumption of food that unwittingly contains toxic substances. Since I am currently writing a publication on the history of blancmange, I have chosen here two extracts that relate to the potential hazards of consuming this seemingly innocuous desert:

A Providential Escape – A few days ago one young family of the Hon. A. Ellis, residing at Bognor, were, together with the governess and two maids, nearly poisoned, owing to their having eaten some blancmange, a part of which was coloured a bright light green very fortunately this green part had an unpleasant taste, which prevented their eating more of it. The medical man who analyzed the remaining quantity found it to contain a verdigris powder. Whilst he had it in a liquid state he dipped into it a knife, which became instantly covered with this green copperas, and he asserts that there was a sufficient portion of this poisonous powder in the quantity analyzed to kill six persons. As it is, the two maids and governess and one of the children are still suffering from its dangerous effects. It appears this powder for colouring the green part had been purchased from a pastrycook in london but it is to be observed that such an article ought never to be sold for such purposes, and this has been inserted as a caution to the public.

(The Blackburn Standard, 18th February, 1846)

Poisoning at a public dinner – great excitement has existed at Northampton, in consequence of the sudden illness of 20 out of about 60 persons who attended a public dinner at the New Hall, which followed the ordination of the Rev. G. Nicholson, B.A., as the minister of the Ring-street dissenting chapel, in the room of the Rev. T. Milner. The viands were of the usual substantial kind, and before the cloth was removed some of the gentlemen were seized with sickness and vomiting, while others were taken ill at a later period of the entertainment. One of them, Mr Cornfield, an accountant in the town, expired at five o’clock on Thursday morning. The dinner was provided by a Mr Franklin, at whose house the whole of the cooking utensils were seized by order of the magistrates. At the inquest held on the body of the deceased, the medical witnesses stated that they had detected copper in the green colouring stuff which coated the blancmange used at the dinner. A verdict of “Manslaughter” was accordingly returned against Mr Franklin, by whom the dinner was provided, and against Randall, the cook.

(The Examiner, 17th June, 1848)

©Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire. ©Come Step Back in Time. Doctor’s House and Surgery. Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire. ©Come Step Back in Time. Interior of the Doctor’s House and Surgery, no. 2 Furnace Bank. Rebuilt brick-by-brick, a majority of one Duke of Sutherland’s cottage built on Wellington Road (no.15), Donnington, Telford. 1862. Opened on site 22nd October, 1986.

On my recent trip to the excellent Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire, I wandered in and out of the many shops and cosy cottages with their glowing ranges and welcoming costumed inhabitants. I tried to imagine what life must have really been like for those living in an industrial town during Victorian times. It is all too easy to foster a rose-tinted view of Victorian life.

©Come Step Back in Time. Inside the Doctor’s House and Surgery, Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire. ©Come Step Back in Time. Inside the Doctor’s House and Surgery, Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire.

Documentaries such as Hidden Killers of the Victorian Home are a stark reminder, to anyone interested in the social history of the period, to look for the truth behind the social myth.

©Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust. Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire.

Blists Hill is not actually a real town, it has been developed over a number of years by The Ironbridge Gorge Trust and covers an area of fifty-two acres. Its purpose is to immerse visitors in the atmosphere of a small industrial town at a pivotal time in British history – the period between 1890 and 1910, late Victorian early Edwardian.

©Come Step Back in Time. Inside McClures General Draper and Outfitters, no. 3 Canal Street, Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire. An original building from Stafford Place, Oakengates, Telford (exterior and shop front only). c.1880. Opened on site on 4th April, 2009. ©Come Step Back in Time. Grocery and Provisions Shop (A.F. Blakemore & Son), no. 7 High Street. An exact replica of Owen’s Grocer’s shop and warehouse, Market Street, Oakengates, Telford, Shropshire. c.1890. Many of the items on display in the shop are from Chester’s Salopian Stores, Westbury, Shropshire. The shop opened on site on 14th July 2000.

In 2013, Blists Hill celebrates its 40th anniversary. Many of the buildings on the site are original and are from other parts of the region but have been saved and reconstructed to create the Victorian Town you see today. What is remarkable about the site is the fact that in the 1960s when historic buildings were being swept away to make room for modern constructions, the forward thinking Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust stepped in and managed to rescue some of them, ensuring that our heritage is now preserved for future generations to enjoy and study. After this initial period of rescue and reconstruction, the focus of Blists Hill shifted toward turning the site into a Victorian Town:

…the focus of Blists Hill shifted as people and not processes became the new priority. Efforts turned to recreating a coherent environment in which visitors could experience what it was like to live and work when Britain was the Workshop of the World at the very end of the 19th century. Blists Hill Open Air Museum became Blists Hill Victorian Town.

But Blists Hill has never been just a museum of buildings and old things. When the decision was made in the 1980s to put museum staff into Victorian costume, carefully replicated from original patterns, a new standard of interpretation was born. The site came to life. Since then, professional actors have added another dimension to street life, and special themed events have helped emphasise the significance of customs and traditions in the lives of ordinary working class Victorians.

(Blists Hill Victorian Town Souvenir Guidebook, 2011, p.51 & 53, Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust)

If you were a fan of the BBC’s Victorian Pharmacy (2010) then you may will recognise Blists Hill’s Bates & Hunt’s Pharmacy and Chemist’s shop as being the location used for the series. I could have spent hours in Bates & Hunt’s Pharmacy examining all the pills, potions and lotions that have been superbly re-displayed.

©Come Step Back in Time. Interior of the Pharmacy at Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire.

The Pharmacy is based on an original building which was located at the corner shop, Constitution Hill, Wellington, Telford in Shropshire. The date of the store is c.1890 and the contents come from West Cliffe Pharmacy (latterly Pars & Co.), Poole Hill, Bournemouth. The Pharmacy has been at Blists Hill since 9th July, 1984.

  • For more information about and to plan a visit to Blists Hill Victorian Town, Shropshire, CLICK HERE
  • For more information about events at Blists Hill and the other Ironbridge museums,CLICK HERE.


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