Huntingdon soldier's 100-year-old cookbook for sale

A VICTORIAN cookbook giving an insight into how troops on the move dined 118 years ago, is set to fetch hundreds of pounds at auction. The ageing cookbook, said to be in immaculate condition, includes troops favourites such as jam roly-poly and potato pi

A VICTORIAN cookbook giving an insight into how troops on the move dined 118 years ago, is set to fetch hundreds of pounds at auction.

The ageing cookbook, said to be in immaculate condition, includes troops' favourites such as jam roly-poly and potato pie.

It was lovingly compiled by career soldier and chef Charles Smith in 1890, who decorated his handwritten notes with painstaking illustrations.

Charles, from Huntingdon, was 19 when he enlisted as a corporal in the 2/10th Foot of the 30th Battalion of Infantry on January 22, 1876.


You may also want to watch:


Charles' Army records describe him as being 5' 5'' tall with hazel eyes and light brown hair.

A baker and confectioner by trade, Charles married a girl called Mary Jane in Dover the same year and was sent to serve in Malta in August 1878.

Most Read

Charles' great-great-niece Debbie Robinson, 46, found the book in her attic after reading about the sale of a World War Two army cookbook at auctioneers Thos Mawer and Son.

Debbie, a housewife from Lincoln, said: "I've known it's been up in the attic for years but I never really thought about it until I read about the other book.

"I was thrilled when I found it. It's an amazing family heirloom and I can't believe that we had something like that sitting in our loft."

The cookbook was tucked away in the attic with Charles' Army records and photos, which give an unprecedented level of detail about the life of a Victorian soldier.

Charles served as a soldier in Gibraltar in 1881 and India in 1882. These were the glory years of colonialism when the sun never set on the British Empire.

On January 1, 1890, Charles, by now a sergeant in the newly-formed 4th Battalion of the Lincolnshire Regiment, was sent to a cooking class at Camp Aldershot for three months. Later he put together his cookbook.

Debbie is happy to sell the family heirloom to an interested buyer, but is planning to set a reserve price of around £600 and says she will pass the cookbook on to her son Matthew if the bidding does not beat that price.

Matthew, 22, followed in his great-great-great-uncle's footsteps and is currently serving in Iraq with the Royal Anglian regiment.

Debbie said: ''There are takeaways out in Iraq so he doesn't need to worry about cooking, but he eats like a horse and is still interested in having a look."

INFORMATION: The auction will be at Thos Mawer and Son in Lincoln on Friday, September 4 and Saturday, September 5.

Charles' 118-year-old recipe for Plain Raisins Pudding reads:

Ingredients: To each pound of flour add half a pound of raisins, half a pound of suet, a pinch of salt, and milk as required.

Chops the suet very finely, stone the raisins and mix them with the flour, add the salt when thoroughly mixed, moisten with sufficient milk to make rather a stiff paste.

Tie in a cloth and boil for four hours, or if rolled as a jam pudding, two and a half hours will be sufficient.'

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter
Comments powered by Disqus