After a brief spell in India as a tiny child and returning to grow up in the Hampshire countryside, Caroline moved to London in her late teens where she has remained every since. As a child growing up, she had tea every day, without ever questioning the fact that she, being a child, never drank any tea. It was all about bread and butter and perhaps some cake or biscuits. The grown-ups had tea but never the children.
In the late 1970s she did ‘the Season’, even by then a fairly outdated social concept. All the girls , aged 18 or so, invited each other to tea, providing an opportunity to build relationships with other debutantes whom we did not know very well. By now we were drinking tea and I remember making hundreds of tomato sandwiches for my tea party.
Since then Caroline has observed how the domestic afternoon tea parties of her younger years have migrated and evolved into its present form outside the home to a new world dominated by hotel culture and the fast changing imagery of the internet.
Since 1993, Caroline has been studying and researching the history and customs of British tea culture and is happy to explain the complexities of this subject through private advisory services, practical workshops, and events and illustrated talks. She has travelled frequently to Japan and throughout Europe to present different events and illustrated talks. She taught classes at City Lit from 2012 – 2014 and presented illustrated talks at a number of leading hotels in London and the South East of England. Her private clients fly in from around the world from such diverse countries as China, Japan, Jordan, France, Belgium, Australia, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Sweden, and the USA to name but a few.
To formalise her research, she has commenced on a Masters degree which will finish in September 2020 when she will produce an exhibition about aspects of English tea drinking. Her aim is to create an interactive travelling exhibition of work that discusses how the ritual described as Afternoon Tea in its present form manifests various corruptions in understanding and what it means to make a history of such a thing, and to highlight what is maintained and what is deconstructed in presenting this history.
Alongside her research work she loves meeting and inviting new friends into her home to experience a new way around tea and tea party baking. However apparently diverse our international cultures might be, she has realised we all have little social rituals that link us together in the world of polite behaviour associated with tea.
media coverage and testimonials
BBC RADIO FOUR: The Food Programme.
Podcasts: Tea: A Coffee Drinker’s Guide, Dan Saladino, Part 1, March 6th and Part 2, March 12th 2017
Caroline is featured at the end of Part 2.