200 George Street

Victorian Style


Case 4

These objects could have been found on the table of a great number of Victorian households. Hundreds of families lived and worked in the buildings that occupied this site during the nineteenth century. Mrs Ellis, Mr Schweigert, Mr Charles Evans, G Bennis and Mr PB Murphy are just some of the shopkeepers who might have sat down to the table for a meal with these things.

The Brosley pattern on this cup is just one of the many ceramic patterns available to the Victorian consumer in Sydney. Mass produced with a huge range of patterns, full sets of dinnerware were suddenly readily available and priced affordably for households. Some patterns remained in use for decades, and are still in use today.

Steel cutlery was also found. It’s likely that these knives and forks would have been attached to bone handles as shown here, or timber which did not survive.

The bottles would have contained salad oil or vinegar and were intended to sit on the table during the meal. The contents of other items like the small dishes are harder to ascertain. They were perhaps used to store sugar and other staples.

Limited evidence of food was recovered during excavations but rock oyster and mud oyster shells were found in great quantities, suggesting that these were a popular meal. Bones recovered indicate a diet of commonly-available cuts of meat, with large quantities of sheep, cow, pig and fowl bones. Some more interesting bones were found including, including three butchered horse hooves! laborum.

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