Edwardian Tea Party at Frank House on Saturday Jan. 31, 1:30 PM

KrisAnn Sullivan
Frank House director, 308.865.8284 OR sullivankw@unk.edu

An Edwardian Tea Party, complete with all of the accompaniments, will be held at the Frank House museum, located on the University of Nebraska at Kearney West Campus, on Saturday, Jan. 31.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is set for 1:30-2:30 p.m. The tea is the first presentation in the “Saturdays at the Frank House” series for spring semester. UNK staff member Paula Nesiba will serve as hostess for the afternoon.

The Edwardian Tea Party concept dates back to England and the late 1800s. It was popular during the time of King Edward VII. After the death of Queen Victoria, the afternoon tea became a ritual.

By the time of the launching of Titanic 1912, tea had grown in popularity so much so that on the menu for the night of the sinking April 14, 1912, tea was listed three times on the third class menus, twice in the second class, and was free for the asking in first class. In order to cater to such a demand for tea aboard ship, Titanic departed South Hampton, England with somewhere between 800-1,000 pounds of tea aboard. Titanic also carried 2,200 pounds of coffee, the majority of which was planned for the crew and breakfasts.

“What I found really interesting is that Titanic carried twice the amount of coffee as tea, however it had double the amount of tea cups and tea pots,” Nesiba said. “Once again that proves that tea time was important and a crucial part of life even aboard the “ship of Dreams.”

These types of formal tea parties typically used fine utensils of bone china or silver, elegant table linens, and the best dishes and serving wear. The tea was commonly served with a variety of hors d’oeuvres, including thin finger sandwiches, cake, scones or cookies.

According to one source, the afternoon tea party was a feature of great houses in the Victorian and Edwardian ages in the Kingdom and Gilded Age in the United States. Today, the formal tea party still survives as a special event, as in the debutante teas of some affluent American communities.