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By Alison Kay on

Boiled AND roasted? Rediscovering an 1870s turkey dinner

Archivist Alison Kay picks out some culinary highlights from our collection.

Here’s a letter from the Hackworth archive – our collection of papers from the family of Timothy Hackworth, railway engineer and early railway pioneer. The letter, sent to Hackworth’s granddaughter Jane Young by an unknown sender, describes the strange way the family cooked their Christmas turkey in 1870.

‘The turkey will require three hours to boil gently, & perhaps three hours to roast”

Alongside the letter was a festive package that included ”a few sausages” and ”a few bones to make some good gravy”.

Letter from unknown to Jane Young (nee Hackworth) 21 December 1870 (page 1) (archive ref HACK 4/4/1/33)

Letter from unknown to Jane Young (nee Hackworth) 21 December 1870 (page 2) (archive ref HACK 4/4/1/33)

Our archives contain more food-related documents than you might think. We’ve recently uploaded a list of railway hotel and catering material, which is also available to view in our archive and library centre. It includes items like this 1975 Christmas menu for York Station Hotel.

Menu- Christmas Day Luncheon, York Station Hotel, 1975 (archive reference 2003-8791)

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