Tuesday, 26 April 2016

History Bakers: Scotch Shortbread – Hull Style

This month's recipe:

April's recipe comes from a periodical in the Local Studies Collection called The Hull Lady [L.052.082].

We hold issues covering the period 1901-1902 and each issue includes ‘Our Cookery Class’ by R. Bond, Instructor, Hull Nautical School of Cookery. Every month a range of recipes are featured and this one is taken from the March 1902 edition.

The magazine contains other interesting articles such as ‘Town Topics’ and the ‘Hull Lady Visits...’. Subjects covered include visits to places like the workhouse or the police station, and these articles give a fascinating insight into Hull at the beginning of the 20th Century. The magazine also features many adverts which can be a great source of information about Hull's local economy and business activities at the turn of the century.


  • One pound Flour [Plain]
  • Half pound of butter
  • Quarter pound caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon of Caraway Seeds
  • Salt-spoonful of Baking powder [i.e. a very small amount]
  • Piece of candied Peel



Weigh out flour, butter and sugar to the correct weight. Put butter and sugar into bowl and beat with the back of a spoon until white and creamy. Add flour gradually and rub in with hands, work in the caraway seeds and baking powder and continue rubbing for 20-30 minutes or until all is mixed in like a paste.... I began the rubbing in method by hand but cheated and put the mixture in the food processor. It is quite a dry mixture and did not come together particularly well. It might be worth adding some beaten egg to bring the mixture together.

Mixing stage

Press out paste into a cake about ½ inch thick. Pinch all round the edge into a fancy border and prick with fork. Put candied peel cut in strips on the top.... I could not buy any candied peel in strips so used the traditional kind. I also decided to make individual biscuits as I thought it would travel better. The mixture made 30 biscuits so if you do decide to make it as a round you would need to make at least two rounds.

Ready for baking

Place on a greased baking tray and bake for 20 minutes in a moderate oven (I cooked them for 15 minutes at 180°C). Remove from oven and allow shortbread to cool before cutting. Best kept for several days before eating.

The finished product!

Here are some of our staff thoughts after the tasting...

Verity - Lovely, smooth and buttery
Claire - Good texture, lovely delicate flavour
Elspeth - Very moreish, filling and delightful!
Christine - Very enjoyable with a lovely hint of fruit
Alex - Really tasty, slightly citrusy!
Martin - Tasty, very nice
Dave - Very nice and buttery with a hint of citrus
Laura - Great texture, lovely biscuit
Paul - Right nice and tasty
Michele - Delicious, moreish, flavourful

Elaine Moll, Librarian

Friday, 22 April 2016

From Blackfriars to Whitefriargate – Shakespeare’s connection to Hull

When John Jackson, of the parish of St Thomas the Apostle in the City of London died around the end of January in 1625 he was comfortably off, and doubtless well regarded in Jacobean business circles. His will dated 26 January was proved on 12 April 1625. It recorded that he left considerable property to his wife Jane. Not only was she his residuary legatee, inheriting all his goods and chattels, leases, debts and rents but she was also to receive a life interest in property Jackson owned in Hull: one tenement in High Street and three tenements in Whitefriargate.

John Jackson had purchased these houses and their land in 1601, for £100 from another London man with Hull connexions, John Gregory. Jackson was then 26 and perhaps it was about this time he married a rich widow Jane James, who had three daughters and £8000. He established himself as a link man between the ports of London and Hull. He was involved in the wine trade and was a moneylender, making loans to men in Hull, North Lincolnshire and London. In a litigious age, his name inevitably comes up in records of court cases, such as a dispute about a diamond ring in 1616.

His business associates included such commercially prominent Hull men as Robert Dalton, John Lister, Joseph Field and John Ramsden.

Another business associate, at the London end of things, was William Shakespeare.

Entry from Freemen’s Roll (C BRG1 f198) recording that John Jackson, son of Thomas Jackson, weaver, was admitted and sworn freeman of the town of Hull by patrimony the same day and year aforesaid [25 July 1609].

In 1613 John Jackson was one of the trustees with Shakespeare for the purchase of a desirable property in London, the gatehouse of the former Blackfriars monastery. This represented an investment by Shakespeare of £140 with the help of a morrgage; perhaps some of the money came from Jackson.  The area was well to do and it was close to the Blackfriars Theatre where Shakespeare’s company of actors, the King’s Men, played their winter season.

Shakespeare and Jackson shared at least one mutual friend: Thomas Savage, another London merchant with a background in Lancashire who. it has been argued, may have got to know Shakespeare in the so-called ‘lost years’ of the late 1580s. Savage was one of the trustees for the lease of the site of the Globe Theatre in 1599, and when he died in 1611, it was John Jackson who oversaw his will. Another connection may have been John Heminges, actor, co-editor of the First Folio, and sea-coal meter (a trading standards officer for the City of London overseeing coal imports) who appointed a John Jackson his deputy in the latter role.

Jackson may have also had literary interests. The Shakespeare scholar Leslie Hotson, who identified the Blackfriars John Jackson with the Hull/London merchant of the same name, suggested that he was also the John Jackson who wrote a poem for inclusion in a popular book – Thomas Coryate’s Crudities. Hotson also suggested that John Jackson was the ‘JJ’ who equipped the ‘Water Poet’ John Taylor with a letter of introduction to the grandees of Hull – including Joseph Field – in 1622.

John Jackson is a common name. Hotson may be stretching it a bit by suggesting that all these references relate to the same man. But it is possible that he was; maybe even probable. He may also have been the John Jackson who in 1609 was made freeman of Hull by patrimony of Thomas Jackson, weaver (although he would have been 32 at the time if he was).

It is unlikely that Shakespeare himself ever came to Hull. But perhaps one of his business associates, maybe even a friend, John Jackson, was a Hull man and that for a few years in the second decade of the seventeenth century, property in Hull was owned by a man who also owned property in London in partnership with William Shakespeare.

Martin Taylor
City Archivist

Hotson, Leslie Shakespeare’s Sonnets Dated London 1949
Wyatt, Diana Shakespeare: The Hull Connection BBC website 2016
Oxford Dictionary of National Biography “Shakespeare, William” “Heminges, John”
http://www.oxforddnb.com/ (accessed 16 April 2016)
The National Archives PROB 11/145, ff. 392-3 (will of John Jackson)
Hull History Centre C BRG 1, f198 (freedom of John Jackson)

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Lighthouses and Lanterns: The Lantern Slides of John Barton (1866-1941)

Here at the Hull History Centre, we are constantly cataloguing new collections. One of these new collections is U DX365 – The Lantern Slides of John ‘Jack’ Bernard Barton.

One box of lantern slides [U DX365]

Jack Barton worked as a chaplain for the Mission to Seamen (MTS), later known as Mission to Seafarers. He was born in India in 1866 to a missionary but grew up in England. Whilst at university, during his vacations, Jack spent time on fishing vessels from Sunderland and in 1889 worked as a layman for MTS in Peel, Isle of Man. In 1890, he was ordained and took up a post as a curate in Brighton. However, concerned by the hazardous working conditions faced by seamen, he moved to Sunderland in April 1892 following his appointment as a Chaplain to the MTS. The role of chaplain involved conducting church services, Bible readings, ship visits and providing welfare services for seamen in dock.

Jack Barton (centre front) with other members of Mission to Seafarers [U DX365/1/1]

He married Susan Thornton in 1895 and they had six children. His role as a chaplain for MTS, in particular as one well known within the charity for improving institutional organisation and attracting larger congregations, meant that the family moved several times including to London, Nottingham, Rousdon, Dover and Swansea.

HMS Timbertown [U DX365/1/9]

In 1917, the Barton's eldest son, Bernard, joined the Royal Flying Corps whilst Jack, under the auspices of MTS, spent three months at Groningen in Holland as Chaplain to the Royal Naval Brigade members interned at 'HMS Timbertown'. After his service in Holland, the Bartons then moved to Dover, where Jack became the chaplain to the men of the Dover Patrol. His final posting for MTS was in Swansea and after having successfully improved the chaplaincy there, the Bartons moved to Great Holland, Essex, in 1923 where Jack became the parish priest. He continued as the vicar of Great Holland until his retirement in 1932, upon which the Bartons moved to Hastings, where they stayed until the outbreak of the Second World War. Possibly owing to German raids on the south coast, they moved once more, this time to Reigate, where Jack Barton died in September 1941 at the age of 74.

Interior of an MTS institute building [U DX365/1/39]

His collection of 186 lantern slides is a mixture of photographs most likely taken by himself as well as slides he owned of religious texts and images. As such, this collection provides an insight into the various aspects of his work, including ship visits, welfare provision and the conducting of religious ceremonies and teaching. All of the photographs taken by Barton are in black and white and feature seafarers and other maritime related scenes. Many of the slides of religious images, some of which are in colour, are copies of paintings and drawings by well-known artists specialising in Christian themes such as Heinrich Hofmann and Harold Copping. Consequently, the slides are a wonderful insight into the personal experiences of those who worked for and of those who enjoyed the services provided by the MTS, while acting as a ‘sister’ collection to the main MTS archive held by the University of Hull at the Hull History Centre (ref. U DMS).

Verity, Archives Assistant

Thursday, 7 April 2016

History Bakers: Queen’s Cakes [U DX180/1]

Mystery of the Recipe Book

Of unknown origin and written on paper, the recipe book clearly features a number of different writing hands. All bear the characteristic marks of the late 17th and early 18th centuries. It is wrapped in a copy decree on parchment dated 20 May 1696, which would support the suggestion that this recipe book can be dated to the turn of the century.

The decree used to wrap the pages is that of Thomas Osborne, the 1st Duke of Leeds, in which he appoints one John Moysier, Esquire, as one of his Deputy Lieutenants in the East Riding of Yorkshire. It is therefore likely that this recipe book belonged to one of the East Riding’s landed families. Red wax has been dripped on one of the pages, possibly indicating that it was used in a household with someone responsible for signing and sealing missives and court documents, perhaps a magistrate or deputy lieutenant as the wrapper might indicate.

If it belonged to the Duke of Leeds and his family, this would be Thomas Osborne (b.20 Feb 1632-d.12 Jul 1712), whose father was Sire Edward Osborne, Baronet, of Kiveton Yorkshire, and to whose estates he succeeded in 1647. His wife was Bridget, daughter of Montagu Bertie, 2nd Earl of Lindsey, and they married in 1651 and had nine children. Titles: 1st Viscount Osborne (1673), 1st Viscount Latimer (created 1673), 1st Earl of Danby (created 1674), 1st Marquess of Carmarthen (created 1689), the first Duke of Leeds (created 1694). He served as Treasurer of the Navy and then Lord High Treasurer under King Charles II, and as Lord President of the Council under William III and Mary II. Buried at the Osborne family chapel at All Hallows Church, Harthill, South Yorkshire.

It could also have belonged to the family of John Moysier, who may have made a copy of the original sealed decree for his own records. If this was the case then we know very little of the Moysier Family here in Hull. Of course it could have belonged to neither, we may never know.

Mystery of the Recipe’s Origins

Known more commonly today as Queen Cakes, this recipe produces small, light current buns, perfect for afternoon tea. Traditionally, they are fluted around the edges, this being achieved by using a fluted bun tin. More commonly now, fluted cake cases are used to achieve the desired effect.

Most food historians place the origins of this recipe in the early 18th century. The estimated date of the recipe book from which this particular recipe is taken might seem to suggest an earlier date. If any historians working in our universities on this subject have further theories I would love to hear them.

If we can date this book to a point before 1707 when Queen Anne ascended to the English throne, then it is entirely likely that the queen to which the recipe refers was Queen Mary II, co-regent with William of Orange, whose reign on the English throne began with the ‘Glorious Revolution’ in 1689. After Anne’s reign ended in 1714, England would not have another Queen as monarch in her own right until Victoria ascended to the throne in 1837.

The Recipe for Queen’s Cakes

Original recipe taken from recipe book, c.1690s [U DX180/1]

Take 3 pound of currans well cleand 1 pound & ½ of flower
well dryed 1 pound of butter well wash’d in rose or orange
flower water & 1 pound of Sugar 8 Eggs use some of the their
Whites ye rest of ye whites Throw away beat them well wth
3 of 4 Spoonfull of Rose Water & 12 spoonfulls of Cream
mix all these well together let ye oven be hot Enough for
Manchet wet yr fingers in Rose Water when you put them down
bake them upon Tinns well buttered

I chose this recipe for our March History Bakers as current buns are quite commonly made at Easter time in Yorkshire (at least they were in my Nana’s house with the help (or hindrance) of her grandchildren). The recipe is simple and a good one to get children involved in baking.

I followed the recipe as set out above in the transcription and it seemed to be quite straight forward. However, I made a few alterations. Whilst the recipe advocates 3lbs of currents, I added 2lbs and became worried there would not be enough cake mixture to cope with another 1lb, and so left out the extra 1lb. I also used both yolk and white from all eight eggs.

‘Let ye oven be hot Enough for Manchet’ wasn't a temperature I was particularly familiar with, so I had to do a little research to know how hot I should set the oven to.... Originally, I had incorrectly transcribed ‘Manchet’ as ‘Manchot’. Not knowing what this was I had to look up the word and was disturbed to find it to be the French translation of ‘penguin’! Thinking that this couldn’t be right, I tried the spelling ‘manchet’ and was relieved to find this to be ‘a leavened bread that was common in medieval and Tudor England’. Armed with this new knowledge, I found a modern recipe that suggested 180 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes.

If you want to have a go at making this recipe I've simplified it below:

Ingredients for Queen's Cakes

·         2lbs currants
·         1.5lbs flour
·         1lb butter
·         1lb sugar
·         8 eggs
·         3-4 spoons rose water
·         12 spoons cream
·         Rose water for washing butter and handling mixture
·         Buttered fluted bun tin/fluted cake cases

·         Mix currants and flour together
·         Cream the butter (washed in rose water) and sugar
·         Beat the eggs with 3-4 spoons of rose water and 12 spoons of cream
·         Mix all together
·         Butter tin (or use fluted cake cases as I did)
·         Bake in 180 degrees Celsius oven for 20 minutes

This is how they turned out and what people thought…

The finished bake

Comments from the History Centre staff:
Alex – Really yummy, fruit surrounded by cake!
Dave – Incredibly fruity and delicious
Caoimhe – Very fruity, divine
Laura – Delicious, lovely and fruity!
Martin – Really very good, packed with fruit!
Carol – Lovely, love all the fruit
Michele – Very fruity and filling, delicious!
Christine – Love the texture of this cake, and all the lovely fruit
Verity – Lots of currents, really good!
Elaine – Lovely very fruity!

Claire, History Bakers Team