The phrase ‘Victorian kitchen’ refers to the way people cooked, prepared their kitchens, and the things they used for cooking during the era of Queen Victoria (1837-1901). Benjamin Thompson first introduced the stove for cooking purposes in 1800, three and half decades earlier to the assumption of Princess Victoria to the throne. However, people at the time rarely used Benjamin’s stove for domestic cooking purposes since it was too large.
Victorian kitchen and techno influences
In 1834, Oberlin Stove produced a smaller oven for household usage. At the beginning of the Victorian era, people largely purchased this unit and reportedly about one lakh of units of this stove sold. However, the Victorian kitchens did not use gas, but firewood for cooking. They began using gas only at the end of the 19th century. At that time, many used pipe borne water and pipes fixed for drainage purposes. Later they began to use gas pipes for lighting, and in 1880 the first gas cooker was produced.
Use of Modern appliances in the Victorian Kitchen
Upper class Victorian kitchens at the time had utilities such as sinks, pumps, taps, and faucets among other luxury items. They built the kitchen following unique styles which later became famous as Victorian kitchen designs. The Victorian kitchen was cleaner and warmer than the rest of the house. The Victorian era saw many new kitchen appliances coming into the market such as cork-shaper, corkscrew, and can opener among others.
Furniture in the Victorian Kitchen
Unlike modern kitchens, the Victorian kitchen had somewhat larger tables in the middle of the kitchen, where on cooking preparation took place. Around it, separated from the walls were sets of furniture to store appliances and ingredients needed for the kitchen. The sink and the stove also took the perimeter of the kitchen. Cooks and helpers could access the table from all sides comfortably since the room had ample space. Therefore, a relatively extensive menu came out from the Victorian kitchen with the participation of a large group of cooks.
The female role in the Victorian kitchen
However, at most houses, women cooked the meals and they cleaned and prepared the meals on their own. Rarely did they hire outside workers for cooking. Normally, the wives and daughters were responsible for supplying tasty meals from the kitchen. They worked in the kitchen for about 44 hours per week to cook and do other kitchen chores. In the Victorian area, only about 25 percent of households had servants.
Victorian kitchen maximum space
The minimum dimensions of a Victorian Kitchen were 11 feet by 16 feet. The inner space of a Victorian kitchen is the main attraction. The walls painted in light colours such as light blue or white made the kitchen look longer. Modern households too prefer the Victorian kitchens in their residences to other kitchen designs. The Victorian kitchens had furnished space rather than fitted furniture against the walls. They could easily move their kitchen furniture around as they wished.
The Victorian kitchen reflected culture, technology, and other beliefs prevalent during that era. Without understanding them, it ‘s hard to comprehend why they used large spaces, unfitted furniture, and larger cookers and so on in their kitchens. The Victorian era witnessed great leaps in technology, medicine, and politics among others. They influenced the cooking patterns people used and their architecture. The Victorian kitchen reflects them all.