Ryde Social Heritage Group research the social history of the citizens of Ryde, Isle of Wight. Documenting their lives, businesses and burial transcriptions.
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Afraid of the Cook

Victorian Kitchen

There is a disposition in many professors of the culinary art to resent the intrusion of their employers into the kitchen. Cookie looks upon that place as her especial domain, a spot where she is “monarch of all she surveys,” and into which no lady “as is a lady” will intrude. Then  again many cooks have a sensitive, artistic temperament. They feel criticism as keenly as a musician or an artist, and to hint that their joints are not done to a turn gives the cook, not the joints, “a turn” too.

Mrs. Harland (the wife of Dr. Harland) of Eastfield, Ryde, seems to have had an unpleasant experience of these characteristics. She had a cook, one Louisa Davis, and doubtless had occasion to reprove her. Whereupon the cook wrung her fists in her mistress’s face, told her “she was no lady,” and used other grossly insulting language.

As the other servants were afraid of this amiable specimen of the fair sex, and would not go into the kitchen where she was, it is not surprising that Dr. Harland told her to leave at once, tendering her £1 6s 9d., the wages actually due. But this did not suit the high-spirited individual, and she summoned Dr. Harland to the last County Court for a month’s wages in lieu of notice Dr. Harland paid £1 6s 9d into court, but resisted payment of the amount claimed.

After hearing the story of the cook’s behaviour, his Honour said it was lucky for her the money had been paid into court, or she would have got nothing, and he gave judgement for the defendant , and the cook had to pay the costs.


Isle of Wight Observer 11 April 1891

Picture Source: backinmytime.blogspot.co.uk