Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Curatorial Corner - 29th June 2011

In the Kitchen!

Back in April we were successful in obtaining a fabulous object at auction.  It arrived last week and we were thrilled with our purchase.  The item in question is a GWR Hotels copper saucepan.  It sounds very ordinary, but it is the first object of its kind that we have at STEAM.

We already have a large collection of cutlery, china, glass and silverware from the GWR Hotels and Refreshments Department.  All of these items are good quality, delicate, pieces that were used in front-of-house services for use by passengers in dining cars or hotels.  The copper saucepan is the complete opposite - plain, solid and very heavy (it weighs 3kg!).

The kitchens on carriages, in stations and hotels were an integral part of the GWR dining service provision.  It would have been a hive of activity with chefs preparing 5 course meals, sometimes in tiny confined spaces, for large amounts of people.  The copper saucepans were very heavy and would have been even heavier filled with water or vegetables.  It must have been a tough job working as a chef for the GWR, especially in a dimly lit kitchen carriage, swaying and lurching from station to station.  Not for the weak or faint hearted!

GWR Chef preparing food in a cramped kitchen carriage - note the saucepan on the left

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