I have been investigating Nottingham jars, the Victorian version of a slow cooker which seem to have been in general use until the 1930’s… one day I might even find a real one! Meanwhile here is a recipe for beef tea, which was a very popular drink for invalids and the infirm, convalescents and people of a weak disposition… it seems to be very similar to Bovril, or maybe Bovril and other beef extracts are very similar to it!

In The Nursing Record, November 1890, from Miss Jane Dearth :- Steaks from the rump are the best for beef tea. Shred the meat finely, and soak it twenty minutes or half-an-hour in its own weight of water (two tablespoonfuls of a liquid go to the ounce) ; then pour it into a Nottingham jar and cover it securely with the lid and strong brown paper. Stand this in a saucepan of boiling water for three hours.

Was this Jane Dearth the same person, born in 1863, daughter of William Dearth a gilder? In 1871, the Dearths were living in Chelsea, William, his mother Caroline, and his wife Charlotte and children, Eva 10, William 10, Jane 8 and  Charlotte 7. If it is the same Jane, she was working as a servant to a vicar ten years later in 1881; meanwhile her parents had more children, Harry, Ellen and Charles.  In 1891 Jane is working for another family, the Caves, and Mr Cave is a Constructural Engineer and Colonel of Volunteers.  Jane is just a general servant… but in 1901 she is a hospital nurse. The last I can find of her is a record of her death, aged ninety-one
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