Baking powder was invented in 1843, and baking powder followed in 1846. What does this mean for the Regency? That all breads and pastries had to be leavened with yeast.

Chiefs attempted all sorts of different ingredients as leavenings. Pearl ash was one such ingredient. However, the results were uneven. Another way to getting a fluffy texture was by beating eggs or egg whites for an hour.

Scones, as we know them, had not yet been invented. Nor did all the lovely pastries and quick breads exist. If one had visited Vienna, one could have tasted a kipferl, which is the predecessor of the croissant. The technique to make the pastry light is by layering dough and butter. However, they remained in Austria until the 1830s when two enterprising Austrian bakers opened up an Austrian bakery in Paris. Kipferls as still consumed in the morning in Austria. They are not sweet like croissants, but still very tasty.

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Many of us grew up watching Westerns where people (mostly men) rode their horses everywhere, and when they got where they were going in the town hitched them up to hitching post and went about their business. I should point out that I never actually saw any of the Westerns take place in a large city. But I digress.

What we remember from Westerns is not applicable to London or, I daresay, any other large English city and probably not very many towns or villages. First of all, there were no horse hitches standing around outside of stores on Bond or Bruton Streets, or outside of any of the gentlemen’s clubs. Secondly, no gentleman would generally go into a club smelling like a horse. Horses in Town (as it was referred to) were relegated to riding in the Park or possibly riding out to Richmond (for gentlemen as ladies did not ride horses on large public roads). In towns and villages horses would be left at an inn where they could be taken care of until the rider(s) returned from going about their business. In the country people might probably did visit neighbors on horseback, but they would never arrive for dinner on a horse. That is not only because of the smell, but because boots were not worn in the evenings. Proper evening attire required evening shoes (pumps).

Tea carts or tea trolleys (US). According to the Oxford English Dictionary and Webster’s Dictionary The term did not exist until around 1933. So what did they have during the Regency? A tea tray was used, and tea tables had been in existence since the late 17th century.
As you can see below, tea tables came in all shapes and sizes. I’ve also posted pictures of tea-carts.


During the Regency love matches were not the norm. They were a fairly new idea. Although, there had been love matches throughout history one of the most famous being Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II of England. Girls, especially, were raised to expect an arranged match. Although, not everyone does what is expected of them. However, the times they were a changing—at least for a few. Authors like Jane Austen as well as philosophers of the day were responsible for some of that change in thinking love matches were superior to an arranged match. That marriage should be a partnership rather than the gentleman always being in charge. Romance novels were denigrated because they supported the idea of a love match. Many people considered love matches to be vulgar.

If a couple did fall in love and wish to marry it is important to remember that the man and woman were still usually members of the same class. Gentlemen could marry down and survive socially (yes I know there were problems for the wife, but we’ll get to that at another time), ladies rarely could. And unless one was ready to flee to Gretna Green, or old enough to marry without the permission of a parent or guardian (both of which had a whole host of problems associated with those behaviors) the courtship would still take place under the eye of Polite Society. Young ladies would be warned against wearing their hearts on their sleeves. They would not be allowed to be alone until they were engaged, and gentleman was still in the position of having to petition the father or guardian for permission to address the lady. Once married, the couple would be considered unfashionable if they lived in each other’s pockets. I could not find any data on how many couples married for love or if those marriages fared any better than arranged matches. The romance writer in me hopes they did. Then again, look what happened to Eleanor and Henry.

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An arranged marriage

An arranged marriage was the most common type of marriage during the Regency and beyond. In fact, in many cultures arranged marriages are still the norm. An arranged marriage is one in which a parent (normally the father) or guardian decides who the (mostly) young lady would wed. The negotiations could be with the potential groom or the groom’s parent or guardian. Sometimes the couple would know each other, but it was a very real possibility they would not. Settlements would be negotiated and, if the lady was not a minor she would also have to sign the agreements.

The question always arises as to whether the lady could refuse to marry the gentleman chosen for her. The short answer and the legal answer is yes she could. However, this is when it’s important to remember the culture of the time. A great deal of familial pressure would be brought to bear. This could be in the form of threatening to cast her off or some other punishment. Unless she was lucky and had a family member such as a grandmother or aunt that would help her she’d find herself without recourse.

Gentlemen had more options, but again, family pressure was nothing to be ignored.

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A marriage of convenience was just that. Two people deciding to marry because it was of mutual benefit to both parties. The marriage would be consummated, children were expected, but love was not part of the marriage. Although it could be hoped for at a later date.

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There seems to be some confusion as to which type of marriage meant there would be no marital relations. If a couple agreed to enter into a white marriage it meant that they both agreed there would be no conjugal relations between the couple. I imagine there could be many or at least several reasons for contracting a white marriage.
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