Jane came with her friend Jo who let on that she owns a collection of lemon squeezers! This one, in her collection, has also made it into London’s Design Museum. I suspect there is a home-museum lurking in every street, just bursting to be dusted off and thrown open to the public. ‘HOMEUMS’ sounds catchy. Jan 2018
Cynthia came with her friend Gail and bought a Bramhall board for herself. It was unusual for being stamped on the back. 2018
Friends got baking en famille and created this appetising pile of mince pies, which we were invited to share, on their breadboard. It was bought at St Margaret’s Church bazaar from a company making responsibly sourced products. Dec 2017
Sarah, Tanya, Sophie and Heather work at Cultural Innovations, a company which designs huge museums, many of them in the Middle East. They were sent by their boss, Bill, who was especially interested in our small-scale operation and collection built out of one person’s passion on a shoe-string. Their advice was to experiment with boomerang! Jan 2018
Long-standing friend Debbie and Putney resident Kate share advice on getting published, and recommend The Hare with Amber Eyes as a must-read. Kate’s fave was our Chinese board, made possibly for a missionary in China in the 1800s, with Our Daily Bread translated badly into Classical Chinese. Debbie recommended CANVA publishing. April 2018
We shed the scones and prepared our first Sherry party for Jane, Vita, Emily, Beth and Andy, with cheese served on the Pugin platter made by Minton in 1875. The questions were coming thick and fast, such was their interest and appreciation of this quirky collection. April 2018
Jane made boards for herself and as gifts for her family! Thank you for sending these through.
Thank you for your most enjoyable hospitality on Thursday. We are enjoyed our visit very much. It was so charming of you to lay on the cheeses. Best of all was the delightful remark your daughter made of you, that you collect interesting people. I attach four pix.
The breadboard I made which had my husband’s and my names going round it – pretty much worn away now.
The back of same – not worn
An oval one I made for my mother – who I suspect was of somewhat the same jib as yours.
A watercolour of the harvest sheaf loaves I sometimes make. I could make you one in exchange for giving two friends a voucher for a visit to your museum.
Neighbour Liisa joined Roger and Anne for a jolly afternoon admiring our ‘Galaxy of breadboards’, where we also shared funny stories about what Alzheimer sufferers can get up to. Anne chose the Challah board because of her admiration for Jewish family values and respect for tradition. April 2018
Martin, Marion, Roz, Mandy and Kate joined forces for a whistle-stop tour of the evolution of breadboards from Rogers through Wing to Samuel. Martin brought his own board and demonstrates it most ably. ‘I bought it when I bought my own house’. Often boards are nesting presents, either given at weddings, or to mark moving into a new phase of independence. ‘I liked that it was practical and caught all the crumbs in the tray’. He advises putting potatoes in the breadbin because they absorb moisture. He will also be remembered for falling off his chair!! The proprietors can assure members of the public that it was in a moment of extreme excitement and through no fault of the chair’s.
Mariam was Swiss and said the British had created tourism in Switzerland, because none of the Swiss ventured up the mountains except the goatherds. She saw our Swiss breadboards and thought they were probably for the British tourist market.
I was recommended a visit to the Worshipful Company of Cutlers in the City to learn more about our bread knives and 575 Walworth Road to see the fretwork all over the walls, as our breadboards achieve a similar effect. April 2018
Maureen goes down in our history books as the first guest to visit TWICE, and this time she brought her brother David and sister-in-law Barbara as a surprise. They were full of interesting anecdotes and facts which I record here for posterity.
M told a lovely bread story relating to her uncle. He was tasked with taking the freshly prepped dough to the baker’s to borrow the ovens, but it was a hot day and on the way, the dough continued to proof till it oozed out of his bike basket and got entangled in the spokes!
B was intrigued by the motto ‘Don’t skin the loaf’ and imagined it meant ‘Eat your crusts’, an unpleasant proposition in those days when the ovens were full of embers and soot, which would stick to the dough, leaving it hard and blackened. She observed that the Cornish did not use to eat the outside of a pasty for that reason.
M suggested that baking tins came in with the Industrial Revolution and commercialised bakeries. Tins made the loaves swell up instead of out, fitting more in the ovens. Bread also became stackable.
B’s mother would take the stew to the baker’s to be cooked in the residual heat of the bread ovens over night, collect it in the morning, and the family would eat it for breakfast.
B also had a flashback about the day her mother’s breadboard split in two. Her mother was tenderising an ormer (abalone), a delicacy in Guernsey where she grew up. There are only 4 ‘ormering tides’ in a year for collecting them, and you are only allowed to shore-gather the shell fish (no diving). When you have scraped it off the rock, you have to put the rock back exactly as you found it. Fascinating!
Bryony and Phoebe were fizzing with curiosity as they fired off one question after another and tucked in heartily to scones and cream on the Challah board. They recommended I contact the Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, Dr Lucy Worsley, about finding a good resting place for the collection.
Theresa at Robertson Gallery, Springfield, Missouri, a regular supporter of ours on Instagram, has shared a lovely low-lit neo-Gothic dining room scene with tankards and breadboards at the ready. The contrasting blond sycamore of the boards brightens up the atmosphere and makes it feel like the pizzas are sizzling and the guests are arriving! Thank you Theresa, very artful!
Georgina, Lois, Liberty and Sarah are part of a large facebook Museum-visiting group and had many colourful stories to tell of collectors and collections on a par with ours on the quirky spectrum.
Georgina brought her board and when I asked her to strike an original pose with it she said: ‘Just taking a photo of it is whacky enough!’ When she moved into her very first flat off Northcote Road, Wandsworth, in November 1965 (‘It was a slum, which was why I could afford it’) her mum went off to the street market and bought her a breadboard and breadknife. To start her off in life, she had been given: one double bed, one corkscrew, one tin opener and this breadboard. In that order. It is double-sided. Another memory she has from Cumberland of 1954-9, is of sitting around a big settle and the farmer’s wife cutting the bread under an arm.
Fascinating facts: 1) Lois is from Ohio and told us about the Ohio State Fair where the ultimate honour is to get yourself sculpted in butter! OMG She is totally on the level!! Here are some…
2) Georgina confirms that DEVONIANS put the cream on scones first, whilst the CORNWALLIANS put the jam first. (I’m never going to remember that) Liberty, by name and in spirit, decided to try out both to see which tasted better.
Comments from the ladies:
Lois also mentioned the Appalachian woodcraft of her native Ohio, and they make some beautiful pieces.
They also had a wealth of ideas about helping our museum thrive: reading the Museums Journal, being a member of the Association of independent Museums, offering Sponsor and Breadboard, visiting the Watts Gallery and the Institute of Making, hosting hen parties, drawing classes and photography workshops, and making mini baked loaves to buy!!
We had an absolutely wonderful afternoon with Madeline, an extremely interesting little museum with absolutely no pretensions. Highly recommend if you are fond of the different and special. – Sarah
With Madeline and her collection of Bread Boards (and related items) we explored all of human history for the last few hundred years; the Monarchy, the Church, the Home, the Factory. A wonderful afternoon! And you get to eat scones off the exhibits! – Liberty
A wonderful experience, unlike any museum we’ve been to before – and we pride ourselves on going to London’s smaller museums. Very highly recommend! Madeline was a generous, passionate, knowledgable host who has created an incredible museum in her home from her mother’s extensive antique breadboard collection. When we arrived, we were given an opportunity to look at the collection and ask Madeline questions, before a charming cream tea was laid out in the museum. While having tea with Madeline we looked at breadboards, chatted about the museum and how it came to be, and anything else that came up. A delightful afternoon, and a novel way to experience a museum. – Lois
Ann chose our cosy museum for her Valentines Day treat. Marilyn remembers, back in Australia, borrowing her flat mate’s breadboard to prep a party. The following morning M found her resentfully sanding off the scratch marks. She remembers her mum’s board which was warped and rocked when you used it, but has no idea where it went.
On a breaddy theme, Marilyn also told us a story from her childhood (b. 1946): the baker used to deliver the National Loaf, an Ersatz bread, daily with a horse and cart. ‘He would come in and give us kids a mini Hovis loaf . I don’t know why he had to come in..’ which raised a few eyebrows!
Ann knew about Evelyn Underhill, who wrote the poem engraved on our Mouseman Breadboard. She was a mystical Anglo-Catholic who set up a lovely retreat called St Julian’s near Horsham. They served breakfast in bed with a great thick wedge of toast. We found the poem on the internet and had an improptu poetry reading.
Garrett, a local, was one of our first bemused guests to sample ‘the only museum in Putney’.
Garret’s review: ‘Now, as museums go, it must be said that this is a small one, however, it is a gem. A bijoux museumette, if you will. It helps, of course, if you like breadboards. Mind you, I don’t have a particular interest in them and I found it interesting. The tea and scones (and cream and jam) included also made it interesting, I have to admit. I had a very nice time.’
Garrett’s research: ‘As is often the way with advice, I got completely different answers about carving breadboards by machine. At one extreme I was told it would be very difficult, at the other pretty easy. Part of the difficulty is that doing undercuts requires moving both blade and board. Machines that do this are usually referred to as having five axes – three directions / dimensions for the cutting tool, and then another two for the target wood to be tilted in so as to be able to do undercuts. Another problem is that the machines get much more expensive the larger the object you want to make. The machines are, however, getting cheaper all the time. I have, however, come across courses in doing it the old fashioned way.’
Mike and Minji have a superb idea to create visits to museums online, both pre-recorded and real-time interactive. It would be wonderful to offer that to BB lovers who cannot travel. Mike’s parents’ board was simple with a groove and when sliced bread came in, it lived near the toaster and was used for buttering the toast. His grandfather’s board was more elaborate and may have come from Gray and Stanton, where he worked, in Birmingham. They made many wooden goods when they became popular in the 1920s, and Mike has promised to check the catalogue when he next visits his cousin. !! The equivalent in China for sharing rice is a shallow bucket-type vessel. Mar 2018
From Minji: It takes so much passion to present a daily object – breadboard to a whole different level – relating it to history, art, and dining cultures. Hats off!
Tomoko experiences a very quirky corner of England and is initiated into the complex rituals of English breakfast and Cream Tea. Dec 2017
Nicola’s friends, Lindsay and Margaret, made various venue suggestions, but she insisted on coming to the ABM for her Birthday Treat! And very honoured we were too since Margaret and Nicola have been going to each other’s birthday parties since they were four! It was a lovely lively afternoon, which Margaret contributing many interesting insights due to her great knowledge of the Arts. Of the oak and hawthorn board, the association was significant and suggested traditional hedgerows of oak ash and thorn. We also learnt the whiskers on barley, which appear on some boards, are called awn. Also the ivy boards prompted the observation that it only fruits up as an old plant and has to be about 6ft tall, symbolising a long, strong union. Mar 2018
Margaret and Richard heard of our funny little museum by chance while listening to an actor on Radio London who was on to review the papers but went off on a tangent about us, having visited recently!! And we don’t know who to thank as the name escaped them.
They were accompanied by their friends Ray and Tony. All were bubbling with questions and lively anecdotes. R&M brought their wedding board (1967) all the way from Romford. ‘We have moved 5 times and it is always the last thing to pack and the first to unpack! We flick it over for cheese.’ Tony: ’This is so unusual, it’s on the must-do list.’ Thank you for a lovely afternoon!
David organised a Mother’s Day gift experience with us for his arty mum Lizzie who has carved 4 torsos out of oak! And her fave board had Lizzie engraved on the back. Lizzie had a flash-back to her gran carving the bread sunny-side down and horizontally in the 1960s which clearly was a surprise for her to have remembered it so clearly.
Lizzie is an artist but also went on a wood working course at Yorkshire Sculpture Park and came away with torso No.1. She heard a story about Grinling Gibbons that if he carved the peapods open, then his client had paid, and if they were closed then the client was holding back. A subtle lot, carvers. Mar 2018
Lizzie’s 4th Hunk
A laugh a minute today as Diana and Diane joined up with Westminster University students Katt and Spencer who were researching small museums for a podcast project as part of their MA in multi-media journalism. We hope very much to get a snippet of their labours! Dian remembers complaining bitterly to her mother about her buying pre-sliced bread in the late 40s, early 50s, and Diana remembers visiting a Welsh cottage near Llandudno in the 1940s and seeing them using the ‘armpit method’ to cut bread. Diane recommended Peterborough Museum for its excellent stone age farmstead. Mar 2018
Bear Huggies aka Paula, a stalwart supporter on Instagram, has allowed us to reproduce her lovely images here, where we exchange compliments regularly. Her whole house is a museum to rival ours, with breadboards (40 we are told) displayed attractively in shelves and racks, all softly lit. Bear Huggies says she would never dream of cutting on any of them – she uses disposable plates for chopping food. Her boards are for presenting her baking only. Mar 2018
Sue, Vanessa and Kate all picked their faves after a buzzy tea party in which they diagnosed the mysterious origins of a knife: it was most likely Indian or Middle eastern and originally a sword which had been shorn off into a bread knife. The disproportionately heavy, large handle was a major clue. It had been foxing everyone! Sue made wonderful offers of help with finding volunteers to catalogue the collection! March 2018
Lots of jolly banter with Gillian, Eugene, Andrew and Stephen and interesting knowledge about wood. Eugene mentioned the FSO certificates which track every piece of wood now to stop illegal logging. Gillian’s son remembers: ‘At Nanny Smith’s, it didn’t matter if it was breakfast, dinner or tea, there was always a breadboard on the table with a loaf on it’. Gillian was in the middle of an ebay bid for a breadboard as the tea was going on!
Stephen’s carvings can be seen on the table; a leaf, a Tudor rose and a bird were most elegant, the leaf in lime wood facing down unusually. Stephen came to London to learn wood carving and there were no courses so he did arts and Design, but was frustrated by the emphasis on conceptual art and making up some ‘crap theory’ about something which was much more valued that solid artistic skills. He teaches carving at the Good Life Centre. Mar 2018
Gillian: Madeline was an excellent host and made the experience both relaxed and enjoyable. A good way to spend a couple of hours and to end it with a cream tea, was perfect. Well done. Eugene & Gill
Andrew: An afternoon at the Breadboard Museum is a delight and Madeleine is a knowledgeable and amusing curator. Viewing (and handling) this quirky collection of boards and learning the history of their production was surprising and fun. The cream tea alone was worth the ticket price. A must-do. The best thing before sliced bread …
Andrew: ‘Hi Madeleine, thanks for a great time yesterday. Here’s our London bread board, multi-tasking as the lid of the bread bin!’
A great interactive experience in a fascinating mini museum. Madeleine is warm, welcoming and enthusiastic. She encouraged us to share our insights and memories. A lovely way to spend an afternoon (the scones were lovely too!)
– Joan, Ann, Sandra and Jane
Joan remembers her gran in the 1960s in South Yorkshire wedging the loaf under her left armpit, buttering the bread first, because the thinner you cut, the more difficult to butter afterwards. She could cut them super-thin and with perfect precision!
Ann remembers her mum using the breadboard to prepare mint sauce with a special wheely tool, running it back and forth vigorously over the leaves, then scraping them back together before having another go. And the wonderful smell of mint and a touch of vinegar in the central dip, worn by years of cutting! Feb 2018
‘I sent my partner on this experience and she had a fantastic time. Madeleine was an exceptional and funny host which made the experience memorable and thoroughly enjoyable. The cream tea was a definite bonus!’ – James, Emma’s best-beloved
He fails to mention he booked Emma on our Foundation Course in Breadboard Appreciation in retaliation for being sent by her on a Taxidermy course, during which he learnt how to stuff a mole. Ok: fair dos. ‘The plan back-fired’ he admitted. In future, keep me out of your petty vendettas, James dear boy. I can however recommend Woebetide & Longgone who run excellent pot-holing courses.
Yasemin, Emma and I are all trained teachers so discussion about the Repeal of the Corn Laws in 1846 spun off into the astronomic price of rent these days, and the age-old problem of the laws always protecting the wealthy. Feb 2018
Sonia and Junior loved the collection and both left rave reviews on Airbnb AND Facebook. They were full of fun ideas such as key rings with mini breadboards scorched with the ABM name and mugs with breadboards on. Merchandising is the way forward! They also thought I should approach the Great British Bake Off and see if they might like a few for the bread-baking back drop… Mar 2018
‘Thank you so much for a wonderful afternoon. The Breadboard Museum, will transport you back in time to the humble origins of the bread board/platter.
See the craftsmanship in producing some of these beautiful platters, learn about their social status and etiquette. You will see some of the most beautifully crafted Bread Knives and Butter Platters from the 1800s.
Madeleine is a wonderful host, there are so many items to immerse yourself in. Her mother has done a great job as the keeper of these platters collecting them and caring for them over the decades, we finished up our afternoon with Cream Tea…
If you are a carpenter, engraver, a lover of wood, student, apprentice, baker, historian, collector, visiting london, a londoner who is passionate about our english heritage and past, a lover of cream tea then the BreadboardMuseum is for you. ‘
– Junior Nathaniel Small
‘First off, the hostess and curator of the exhibition is wonderfully warm and welcoming. You will immediately feel comfortable and at ease. Then you will be astonished by the number of exhibits. This fascinating exhibition of over 200 breadboards, lovingly carved by master craftsmen have withstood the hands of time from the 18th century up and are a must see for any carver or carpenter worth their salt. Madeline has carried out extensive research and is open to and encourages questions so that she can share as much information with you as possible. You will be able to handle the boards, feel the weight touch the grain and imagine the stories these boards could tell if they could speak. Madeleine’s stories of how the collection came together, painstakingly collected by her mother and how she experienced living with them as a child are both insightful and honest and shared over a delicious cream tea to end the visit well sated. Don’t be deterred by the idea of looking at blocks of wood, this is so so much more.’
Brian and Elizabeth dropped by to scope us out with a view to including the ABM in the next edition of their walking guide ’12 Bridges London’, and very generously presented us with a SIGNED copy of the current edition. It can be ordered for £15 at: https://www.12bridges.london/ They took the trouble to send over a photo of the family board which is in beautiful condition, belonging to Elizabeth’s mother. Can’t wait to give the book a go! Mar 2018
In fact, it has been very useful in providing information on other points of interest in Putney for a Women’s Institute Tour arriving in June from Leightonstone.
Sally shows off her witty cheese board – a Christmas gift from her parents-in-law – with a smile to match! Mar 2018
Nick organised a birthday treat for his sweet mum Laureen and her Bestie. Daf helped with logistics, sharp questions and passing the exhibits around. Lots of lively banter and melty scones were enjoyed by all. Nick contributed some fascinating facts about the history being played out around the time of some of the dated boards. He wondered whether George Wing’s catalogue was one of the first mail-order catalogues as the railways spread. His mum’s favourite ‘Cymru am Byth 1888’ board may have been celebrating the upsurge of patriotism as many Welshmen set off from Barry Island to fight in the Boer War. Thank you Nick! Mar 2018
I visited Madeleine in early November, and I’m so very glad I did! This is a phenomenal collection of artifacts that can tell us volumes about history, culture, and economics.
This massive and diverse collection is made even more impressive by Madeleine’s knowledge of it. She is truly well-versed in the subject, and listening to her explain the cultural significance of something as seemingly simple as a bread board gave me new respect for material culture research.
With her hospitality, her captivating cats, and her excellent taste in scones, my visit was one that I won’t soon forget. I encourage anyone with an interest in lively conversation, British history, and delicious tea to pay a visit to the Antique Bread Board Museum.
Leandra Nov 2017
John sent in a photo of his board: ‘I attach a photo of a breadboard, still in daily use in our house. It belonged to my wife’s grandmother, and we have calculated it may be at least 110 years old.’ Thank you, John!
Hugh visited Putters on the way to Twickers to see the Rugby, but we are still really chuffed because he came all the way from Canterbury. He bubbled up with fascinating insights into Victorian church life. For example, the Victorians put pews in everywhere because they charged well-to-do families a fee to use them. The great unwashed went up into the galleries. The nave belonged to the Commoners and was used for archery practice at Canterbury Cathedral! Woodcarver Woodward Scott famously carved lovely scenes under the pews for children to enjoy as they crawled about, at St Mary’s, Black Torrington. Also, the church ritual of Harvest Festival was invented by Rev Robert Hawker, in 1843 at Morwenstow in Cornwall. Farmers would have simply had a celebration and Harvest Supper at the end of Harvest. (All counter-comments to Hugh!)
The Winchester diver who saved the foundations would have probably have come from Whitstable.
‘I like how they allow us to be natural, nobody is telling us how to do it.’
Peter and Sharron joined Hilary and Maureen and together they agreed on Tom Samuel’s never-before-seen ‘linen-fold in the round’. Tom says of his board:
‘Since 1990, Rosslyn and I met regularly to discuss breadboards and knives, and our latest discoveries on the subject. She obtained some green sycamore blanks for me to make some breadboards. After several years of drying I had a go, but I did not want to copy the past. So I made boards that were not about virtuosity but fun and experimental, the results are in the collection.’
Peter had a brilliant idea: to punch a hole in the wall and expand the museum into next door, decorate it with Wing boards and call it ‘The Wing Wing’ !! Mar 2018
A witty Anglo-Japanese couple yesterday brought their two boards to show, and coined a new euphemism for using our privy which is decorated with oil paintings: ‘Off to admire the Botty-cellis!’
Phyllida and friends have a jolly time and pick their favourite, a Royal Jubilee board of 1897. They guessed the location of the board in the photo quiz (Scott’s Polar Expedition 1911-13) and earned themselves extra scones! One friend observed: ‘The Queen should see this.’
We are very happy to announce two donations! The first, a delightful little Mouseman bowl from Alex which has joined the Harvest shelf: there’s no wheat without mice.
The second arrived in a bubble envelope from Mr Fletcher in the New Forest; his old family breadboard from the 1930s with the back-story. His mother and grandmother bought it from The Bucklebury Bowlman, aka George Lailey, who had woodland from which he turned his items and sold them from a hut at Turner’s Green, Berkshire. His tools and lathe are preserved in the Museum of English Rural Life in Reading. It is now making itself useful as my tea-tray, as we take a break from sifting the research. Thank you Mr Fletcher!
More about Lailey from the Museum of English Rural Life:
See Robin Wood for continuing the tradition:
Dani tucks in to a springy slice of sourdough from The Bakehouse, Putney on a huge Bramhall board which has become her breakfast tray. Feb 2018
Frances, Emma, Fin and Matt come for a lovely family reunion, Frances all the way from Dunoon in the Highlands and Islands. They had to be the most creative family I have ever met, proffering all sorts of wonderful ways to put the boards to new uses such as hats and ceiling light moldings! I’m open to all suggestions… Fin brought his own ciabatta from a baking course the previous day and chose a Winchester board to set it off. Feb 2018
‘I booked this because it seemed quirky, and unusual, and I had never really considered that a breadboard would command its own museum, let alone provide a cream tea too. The visit was really quite exceptional, Madeleine was kind, informative and generous in her welcome. This little museum is a box of delights, and a very tactile experience (unlike most museums) as well as a culinary joy. It was a very happy and relaxing experience, and has opened up a new world of a forgotten and historically important craft/art.’ – Frances
‘Really enjoyed my visit! Very unusual and personal setting for a museum. Great to be able to handle the exhibits and get details on everything from Madeline instead of having to read plaques! Cream tea was excellent as well’ – Finlay
Who earned himself a free breadboard!
Our youngest visitors yet, and how impeccably behaved they were too. Credit to their mums, Laura, Emma and Emily! Feb 2018
A French visitor who was surprised to discover she had collected 33 boards and accessories imperceptibly over 40 years, shared a photo of her centrepiece. Note the snail! She has been hoping we produce a book for years. Jan 2018
Joan Ransley, acclaimed food photographer, pays us a visit with her friend Jane. She was encouraging about looking for a publisher! Jan 2018
A camera-shy couple choose a ‘Long Life and Happiness’ wedding board with bells and a horseshoe. Jan 2018
Judith comes especially to see our Richard Cobden board as she is a cousin n-times removed of John Bright, a colleague of Cobden’s in the Anti-Corn Law League. It was her chosen board, needless to say! Jan 2018
Iori sweetly booked a tea party to celebrate Harriet’s birthday before whisking her off to the theatre! Jan 2018
Hugh sent in this photo of his rather beautiful Winchester board and knife with a story attached – as there inevitably is!
“I inherited a circular oak breadboard with coats of arms of William of Wickham and Winchester Cathedral and the motto ‘Manners Makyth Man’. I am interested to know more about it. It goes with a similar styled bread knife. I can actually trace a descent from William of Wickham’s sister. My grandfather wished to have my father admitted to Winchester College as ‘founder’s kin’ and submitted a pedigree to the college. I believe the privileges of Founders Kin were abolished in 1857 however!. The college thought the founders kin were known for being stupid! ”
An ink enthusiast who wishes to remain nameless chose the Coronation 1937 board for his cream tea. He likes the way breadboards commemorated historical upheavals such as the abdication crisis with such understatement. We can suppose the carvers abstained from naming the upcoming King in case they backed the wrong horse. And please do visit Stephen’s House in Finchley, which houses another quirky collection – this time of ink-related items! Jan 2018
JP Devlin of R4’s Saturday Live show has done us the honour of visiting to record the story of the museum! He noted tenderly how his mum still cuts the bread for him when he goes home – just the way he likes it – on their family breadboard. His fave was the ‘Eat And Be Merry’ Tonbridge board, with ‘Lizzie’ inscribed on the back. Lucky Lizzie! Listen out for us, it’s early on Saturday mornings, date tbc. Jan 2018
Our New Year began hosting a charming friends’ reunion organised by Priti. Michael wrote up his impressions afterwards:
” 2018 began in a completely unexpected way when my friend, Priti, organised a surprise trip for a group of us to the Antique Bread Board Museum in Putney on New Year’s Day. “Bread boards – how interesting!” we all sniggered. Our scepticism didn’t last long though once Madeleine welcomed us into the small front room that pays homage to decades of collecting by her late antique-dealer mother. There are over 400 breadboards, bread knives and related items to experience and touch. Madeleine’s enthusiasm was irresistible as she explained the history and purpose of the museum’s contents and explored our reactions to them. This warmth was echoed in the scones we were served on a breadboard of our choice as part of the cream tea that comes with the visit.
One of the strongest messages was about how vital a part bread boards have played in history, sharing out the ‘stuff of life’ as the many of the boards remind us is the role of bread. It made me think about my breadboard. I took it from my mother’s flat when she moved to spend the last years of her life in Nazareth House in Hammersmith. Although battered and singed it is just about possible to make out a design of ears of wheat around its edge. I can remember it from my childhood so must date from the 1950s. It must have featured in just about every meal we had!
Down the road from where I live is St John Bread and Wine so I’m lucky to have decent bread close by. My mother’s board is therefore still helping decide who gets ‘crust or crumb’ and there is something reassuring about the extraordinary ordinariness of this continuity. A visit to the Bread Board Museum is not just a lovely way to spend a couple of hours but an important reminder of the how the simple and everyday support us to live our lives.” Jan 2018
Hiroko is excited to find she can stay overnight and changes her booking from tea and tour to bed and breakfast. Jan 2018
Breadboard party starring Lyuba, Elena, Huon and Ilaira, including a tour and cream tea on a stunning wheat and poppy board chosen by Lyuba. And every guest has a fascinating piece of information to contribute. Our Russian ladies told us the bread knife matching the Jewish board was never used to cut the Challah on Fridays, as the bread was always broken apart by hand. And Huon may persuade Country Life magazine to do a small feature on us! Dec 2017
Isobel and Brian come for lunch and choose the Swiss board for the cheese course. Dec 2017
Steph at Time Out, who arrived on our doorstep having drawn the short straw, called us ‘surprisingly interesting’ and chose the dark handsome man from Nigeria/Benin. Dec 2017
Every breadboard has a story. Sheila, one of our museum visitors, shared hers having done a bit of background research.
‘The story is that in the 1980’s I was working for the ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi and a prototype butter mould was made as a promotional idea for Anchor butter. There was an accompanying board made by another company. I don’t think either were accepted by the client, which would make my board unique. You can see that the lettering is quite primitive. There is also an anchor logo lower down, but it has become so faint after years of use, that it is barely visible. I finally managed to do a selfie with my ‘Bread and Anchor’ bread board.’ Thank you Sheila!
Mr Soeya feels right at home and is already planning another visit! December 2017
Carrie makes all sorts of great suggestions such as small promotional films. May 2017
Judith, Cliff and Meg visit us as we open for the first time to the public during the Wandsworth Arts Fringe. ‘Here, as promised, is the photo of three extremely happy visitors to your marvellous museum. We had such a fantastic time yesterday thanks to your great hospitality, encyclopaedic knowledge and mum’s stunning collection. It has provided a memory to treasure!’ May 2017
Rebecka Pershagen, performance artist and comedienne, likens our gallery to Game of Thrones stage set: ‘Instead of shields and spears, it’s boards and knives!’ May 2017
Frans Dingemanse of Mittelburg, Zeeland in The Netherlands is a contemporary carver of traditional and modern knife handles. He came for the day to share his knowledge of Dutch knife-handle carving. Above: Leda and the Swan. October 2016
breadboard vintage carved Victorian wood wooden rustic home and colonial kitchenalia antique cutting chopping cottage interior design kitchen period decorative collecting woodworking woodcarving wood art wood sculpture woodcraft