The Ironmaster’s wife at the Joanna Furnace Iron Works invites guests to the 11th annual Victorian Tea. Register now to reserve your spot for this special event, which will take place Saturday, May 13, at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. at Historic Joanna Furnace.
This year, guests will participate in a program entitled ”A Woman’s Place in Postwar Society,” which focuses on the roles women played in the years following the Civil War.
“Some men came home from the war with severe injuries and others didn’t come home at all. Women had to pick up the pieces and fill the voids their husbands left,” said Victorian Tea Coordinator Caroline Lee. To demonstrate the ways women filled those voids, volunteers will present seamstress, nurse, laundress, and postmistress impressions as they would have appeared in Post-Civil War society.
The Victorian Tea service is a formal event that includes light fare and tea served on fine china and tables covered with pressed linens. Volunteers will dress in period clothing to greet and serve guests. “We like to give the public a glimpse into the life of women who would have been close to the ironmaster’s wife during the Victorian Age,” said Lee.
To follow the tradition of the Ironmaster’s family, the event is a ‘low tea’ service. That means the tea service will include the same light fare the ironmaster’s wife would have served to her most important guests. The term ‘low tea’ means guests were seated at a low table, typically in the drawing room or sitting room of an estate.
Volunteers will use traditional recipes to make the light fare which they will serve to guests. “The food is all handmade from scratch, so we will be busy bees the day before the tea service,” said Lee. Some of the fanciful foods they will serve include scones, biscuits, cakes, breads, fresh fruit, and finger sandwiches.
Volunteers will also teach guests about proper tea etiquette that was expected during low tea. “It’s a great way to teach little ones about table manners, and hopefully our younger guests will use the lessons they learn here at home and when they go out to eat,” said Lee.
Guests are encouraged to wear their Sunday best; Victorian dress, gloves, and hats are optional. Admission for the Victorian Tea is $22, and you must register in advance to attend the event. Space is limited, so register early to reserve your place.
The event is sponsored by the Hay Creek Valley Historical Association and will be held at the Historic Joanna Furnace Iron Works which located just off of Route 10, three miles north of Morgantown. Turn at Furnace Road.