The History of Afternoon Tea
Tea consumption increased dramatically in the early nineteenth century and it is around this time that Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford is said to have complained of ”having that sinking feeling” during the late afternoon.
Later friends were invited to join her in her room and this summer practice proved so popular that the Duchess continued it when she returned to London, sending cards to her friends asking them to join her for ”tea and a walking in the fields.” Other social hostesses quickly picked up on the idea and the practice became respectable enough to move it into the drawing room. Before long all of fashionable society were sipping tea and nibbling sandwiches in the middle of the afternoon.
These days Afternoon Tea is usually only an occaisional luxury or birthday treat…