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Nineteenth Century Lunches and Courting the Stationmaster’s Daughter

by

Juli D. Revezzo

The late 19th century was the time of innovation. The birth of what became the modern city and with it, things like factories, the long work days (often up to sixteen hours!), early trams and trains, all these things arose in the 19th century. This was the era when men’s work moved out of the near-home radius, from the field, into the greater city of London (and beyond) and therefore, there was no opportunity to enjoy lunch at home with his family. For the wife of the late 19th century, this meant a shift away from the lavish meals she and her husband probably grew up on—at least in the case of the upper classes (The organization of an elaborate leisure dinner party was mainly the staple of the upper classes). The underclasses would have dinner at the same hour, but the fare proved meager.

Even these dinners gave way to (for working men, at least—and yes, even the young working women of the age) lunches—and even dinners—away from home.

These workers carried their repast in what has become a staple of modern life: The lunchbox. In the beginning, the lunchbox was a simple basket, or in some cases, a plain old pail. They tended to look like any ole bucket we might now have in our yards, but soon, they took on the look any modern schoolchild would recognize.

Or, if they happened to be managers of said-business (factories, railways), they might (might) have a runner to go out and bring them a sandwich back from the closest local café. (And if one could afford the price, the worker may take a lunch there as well.)

This section of society stars heavily in my latest historical romance, COURTING THE STATIONMASTER’S DAUGHTER, as the hero (and his superior) are stationmaster and assistant stationmaster of a very new industry in Victorian London, the subways. In the course of the story, the stationmaster’s daughter is charged with setting up a luncheon for the men of his station (with the help of his assistant Stationmaster), something of a change for their hardworking employees, usual sandwiches, or leftover meat pies, or maybe soup, from the night before. Even this repast is brought along in a series of baskets and pails. So, the next time you open you (or your child’s) Captain Marvel lunchbox, ladies, 😉 thank your grandmothers for their ingenuity in keeping their families fed, no matter the venue.

If you’d like to know more about my novel, COURTING THE STATIONMASTER’S DAUGHTER, here is the synopsis:

After Honorine Camden is jilted, leaving her stunned and sparking a scandal in her tiny London borough of Wallflower, she’s devastated.

But when she overhears her father, the stationmaster, talking about arranging a party for their newly-minted underground railway station, she volunteers to help.

Although she’s intrigued with his handsome assistant stationmaster, Shane MacIntyre, she never expects to fall head-over-heels in love with him.

Unfortunately, one tragic accident might derail everything.

Genre: Historical romance
Word count: 74,000 words
Cover art: Raven Queen Publications.
Rating: PG
Heat Level: sweet

Courting the Stationmaster’s Daughter is available in kindle format at Amazon
The paperback is available at Lulu

Thanks, C.D. for allowing me to visit and chat about lunch! Now, what say we go scrounge some up ourselves? Join me, won’t you? 😉

About the Author:

Juli D. Revezzo loves fantasy and Celtic mythology and writing stories with all kinds of fantastical elements. She is the author of the historical romances, Courting the Stationmaster’s Daughter, Vesta’s Clockwork Companions, House of Dark Envy, Watchmaker’s Heart, and Lady of the Tarot, the Antique Magic paranormal series and Celtic Stewards Chronicles series and more. She is also a member of the Independent Author Network and the Magic Appreciation Tour.

To learn more about this and future releases, visit her at:

Website: http://www.julidrevezzo.com

Follow her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/julidrevezzo

or Twitter: https://twitter.com/julidrevezzo

Blog: http://julismapsroom.blogspot.com/

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/juli-d-revezzo

Sources and Links:

Industrial revolution gave us lunch as we know it (NPR)
https://www.wpr.org/historian-industrial-revolution-gave-us-lunch-we-know-it

The History of the Lunchbox
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/the-history-of-the-lunch-box-98329938/

Workers’ Lunch Away from Home in the Paris of the Belle Epoque: The French Model of Meals as Norm and Practice by Martin Bruegel, French Historical Studies, Vol. 38, No. 2 (April 2015) Copyright 2015 by Society for French Historical Studies (p. 253-280)

Working Hours: https://www.striking-women.org/module/workplace-issues-past-and-present/working-hours

Pictures of 19th century lunchboxes
https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/promo-university/history-of-lunch-boxes.htm

Steam train engineer’s lunchbox:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/372680192330

Picture of a lunchbox: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/236650155389464576/

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