One hundred and eleven years ago, a batch of Christmas pudding was made to cheer up a soldier fighting in the Boer War. While most would assume it would have been eaten long ago, it has actually turned up in a kitchen cupboard. The batch is thought to be one made by Victorian philanthropist Agnes Weston, often known as “the mother of the Navy” for her goodwill work writing to soldiers and sailors, visiting hospitals and prisons, and starting rest homes for sailors.
The pudding tin even contains the original instructions: “This pudding is ready for use but may be boiled for an hour if required hot”. Of course, being that the treat is way past its expiration date, it will not be served cold or hot but has been donated to the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom.
The story of how the pudding was donated to the museum begins with a phone call from a woman who had found the tin in her kitchen cupboard. She knew that it had been in her deceased husband’s family for years, but did not know how much history it held, having actually been sent overseas from South Africa.
If you would like to check out the 111 year old pudding yourself, you can attend the Historic Dockyard’s Victorian Christmas Festival from November 25-27, 2011, where the exhibit will be on temporary display.