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We are having a Live Steaming Event - Sunday May 26th 11:00 am to 3:30 pm

Welcome to Mrs Bird’s Victorian World – Victorian Recipes and Family Puzzles.

Mrs Bird and friends.

Come and meet Mary Ann Bird, our costumed interpreter based in the Stove Room most Saturdays or Steaming Sundays. She will tell you more about life in her modest Victorian kitchen. Mary Ann Bird is an able baker and you might be lucky to have a chance to taste her recipes taken from Eliza Acton’s (d. 1859) Modern Cookery for Private Families; Britain’s first cookery books aimed for the domestic reader. The book introduced the listing ingredients and suggested cooking times for each recipe. Later Eliza’s Modern Cookery was eclipsed by the success of Isabella Beeton’s bestselling Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861), which included several recipes plagiarised from Eliza’s work. In case you missed the opportunity, we have displayed the recipes, click on an image for full instructions!

Mrs Bird’s Victorian Bake-off

Mrs Bird’s Victorian Puzzle Place

Cattern Cakes

Cattern Cakes

Catherine of Aragon burnt all her lace to save local lacemakers from poverty as new lace was required. Cattern Cakes are a cake for her feast day as the patron saint of lacemakers.


Jumbles were a delicacy in the Middle Ages. Rumour has it that Richard III had some in his saddlebags at the Battle of Bosworth.

Tea Bread

Tea Bread. The different countries which make up the United Kingdom, each have their own version and within each region there are many ‘original’ recipes!
Caraway Seed Cake

Caraway Seed Cake

Our visitors this month will have the opportunity to sample a real favourite of the Victorian times. Caraway Seed Cake.
Balmoral Tartlets

Balmoral Tartlets

Balmoral Tartlets, a long forgotten tasty cake! Our present Queen is now our longest reigning monarch. She surpassed that of her Great, Great Grandmother, Victoria, earlier this year.
Easter Cakes

Easter Cakes

Visitors to the museum over the Easter period were able to sample this delicately spiced Easter fare which, even though they look and feel like biscuits, are called Easter Cakes!
Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake

Simnel Cake is now firmly fixed as an item specially prepared for Mothering Sunday. However, change was afoot from the Stuart period, particularly after the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660.

Irish Plum Cake

Irish Plum Cake does not contain any plums at all. Plum is an old term for dried fruit. So,our Plum Cake is a fruit cake.
Yeast Cake

Yeast Cake

Called in Eliza Acton’s book "a Light Luncheon Biscuit, or Nursery Cake"!

Christmas Pudding

Three puddings: including one from Eliza Acton’s book, and another from Charles Elme Francatelli, Chef to Queen Victoria in the early years of her reign.
Mince Pies


The origin of mincemeat lies in the Middle East; returning Crusaders brought back the idea that meat, fruit and spices were an excellent and tasty mix.

Grantham Gingerbreads

These were a firm, family favourite in many households and they continued to be made commercially until the 1970s.
Victorian Shortbread

Victorian Shortbread

It is easy to overlook some of our traditional items. After all, how many of us have not moved the humble Shortbread to one side in our quest for what accompanies it?
Candied Peel

Candied Peel

Candied Peel: Large sugary lumps of orange, lemon and citron peel sliced for adding to biscuits, or chopped finely for sweet breads, buns or fruit cakes.
Dorset Apple Cake

Dorset Apple Cake

Mother made this throughout the war whenever there was a special family event. She obviously had to save up some of the ingredients to be able to make it.

Anzac Biscuits

ANZAC stands for Australian New Zealand Army Corps; this recipe is for a yearly day of remembrance and commemoration on April 25th.

Chinese Tea

The story of tea goes back over 5,000 years in China; Britain’s love affair with this beverage has only a 500-year history!
Victorian Kitchen Imperials


Eliza called this recipe – Imperials – a more imposing name than the one given by subsequent food writers. Imperials were the forerunner to rock buns.
Treatcle Tart

Treacle Tart

Believe it or not, TREACLE TART, in the form that most people know it, has been a family favourite for well over 100 years.

Geneva Buns

Called by Eliza Acton – Geneva buns, and by Isabella Beeton – plain buns; she so loved the word plain!


For our Steampunk Extravaganza weekend, it was the Gingerbread plate which needed topping up the most!

Meet Mrs. Bird in Victorian Washing Machines a World History Project video.

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Nottingham Industrial Museum is a Registered Charity Number: 1167388
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Registered address: The Courtyard, Wollaton Hall And Deer Park, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, NG8 2AE

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