easter egg, handmade © IWM (EPH 641)
A carved wooden Easter egg, in two halves, depicting on one side a painted rural scene with cottage, fields, trees and a blue sky, on the other side are large letters in gold…
“An elderly man stands utterly bewildered. Before him, his business and home are smouldering, black smoke billows from the skeletal remains and an acrid smell pervades the April air. Beside him, his wife and daughters stand, staring in horror. They have lost everything. All that remains of their home is a gable wall with fireplaces hanging grotesquely in mid-air. All is dust. Black and twisted remnants of their lives are the only signs that they had ever lived there. Too traumatised to even cry, they stand, silent and uncomprehending.”
The family referred to above is mine, the gentleman my great-grandfather. Easter week 1916 claimed his business and…
Hot cross buns are a traditional Easter treat. They are distinguished from other buns by the flavour of all-spice and a pale cross baked into their top. Although they now appear in the supermarkets as soon as the Christmas mince pies have been cleared, hot cross buns used to be associated particularly with Good Friday.
In the early 19th century, Good Friday and Christmas Day were the only two ‘close holidays’ observed throughout London, with shops shut and churches open. From dawn, street sellers were busy crying ‘Hot cross buns! One-a-penny, two-a-penny, hot cross buns!’ They carried their wares in baskets, with the buns covered first by a flannel or green baize, with an outer white cloth. As customers were served in the street or at their front door, the coverings were slowly and partially removed lest the buns should cool. The ‘hot’ aspect of the buns was evidently considered more important that it is today! The sellers’ ‘volume of concerted sound, unequalled by other rivals in the ephemeral Good Friday trade’ continued until…
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