Discover a Bradfordian Banquet at Bolling Hall

Article dated Tuesday Jun 6, 2023 at 02:43 PM

A timeline of food and related equipment from the Middle Ages to the present day is on display at Bradford’s Bolling Hall Museum.

The exhibition at the Bradford Council-run museum, which partially dates back to the Middle Ages, takes visitors on a journey to explore how our diet has changed over the past thousand years, and the role that the Bradford district has played in this. Visitors may be surprised by how long we have been enjoying international flavours, did you know that the Tudors would have enjoyed a dish similar to the modern favourite sweet and sour chicken?

Discover the world-wide influences that have shaped our diet since the Middle Ages including the import of fruit, vegetables, spices and sugar, and the way that we have adapted what we eat due to industry, war and travel.

Displays in the Cold and Warm Kitchens explore the diet of people from of the Middle Ages to Tudor times and features pies, bread, meats including chicken, bacon and gilded beef, after all they knew how to glitz up a meal in the Middle Ages!

The Cold Kitchen also has a focus on the products from the dairy featuring butter churning and cheese-making techniques.

The Great Hall picks up from the Tudor period to the present day with the long table laid out as a timeline of food, where you can see horn cups, Victorian confectionary moulds, ration books and more.

The Georgian Drawing Room is laid out for Afternoon Tea and tells the story of the creation of the first sandwich.

Other displays include the story of food in the Bradford district including the first chip shops, free meals for school children, the introduction of self-serve supermarkets, how the dining styles of the middle and upper classes have changed and the role of the butler’s pantry.

There are also displays dedicated the rise of kitchen gadgets during the Victorian period as well as the impact World War Two had on the food we ate including the effects of rationing and the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign.

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “This exhibition which is spread across several rooms at Bolling Hall tells the fascinating history of what we eat and also the way that we eat. Many of us will recognise elements of the diet of those from the middle ages including things like pies and bread, our diet has evolved over past thousand years to include fruits, vegetables and spices that our ancestors from those times wouldn’t be able to identify.”

To find out more about the exhibition which is on until September 2023 visit

If you need more information on how to find free or affordable food in Bradford, please visit the Bradford Council website.

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