'The Mildmay Kitchens of Old'


Edwardian photo of the Mildmay kitchen and staff

Here's a photograph we recently unearthed while sorting through archive material in our basement, 'the Mildmay kitchens of old'.

The cook is using a cast-iron range to produce food for patients and one of her assistants is very young indeed. The work would have been hard, hot and dirty. In a large kitchen, there would have been up to and exceeding, four fires. A Perpetual Oven, named such because it would have burned day and night and a hot plate that would have provided boiling, stewing and frying duties. The copper would have provided hot water for cooking and cleaning and finally the kitchen grate or roasting grate. This consisted of heavy wrought iron bars supported on either end by cast-iron plates or brickwork and often fitted with adjustable fire cheeks so that the size of the fire could be altered depending on what was being cooked at the time.


One can imagine the scene, with four fires raging, spits turning, cooks chopping and maids and porters constantly ferrying back and forth clearing ashes, shovelling coal, preparing meat and veg...

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