Recreate Mrs Patmore’s kitchen below stairs and shop for traditional kitchenware.

If you stepped downstairs at Downton Abbey, you would discover copper pots, Mason-Cash mixing bowls, fish kettles and blue striped bowls. The new book Christmas at Highclere: Recipes and Traditions from The Real Downton Abbey by The Countess of Carnarvon has reignited a passion for iconic English kitchenware. The book takes a look at the routines and rituals that make the castle magical at Christmas.

We have rounded up ten websites that sell beautiful traditional kitchenware designs that are as relevant today as they were in the days of Downton. We may not have the butlers, footmen, housekeepers, maids and kitchen staff of the Victorian era, but it doesn’t stop us appreciating classic kitchenware. All our chosen traditional kitchenware sites are rooted in English heritage and offer a lasting legacy; many of the baking items listed below have been made in the same way, by the same families, for a very long time.

Here’s our edit of the ten best sites to buy the oldest and best loved traditional kitchenware that you might find downstairs at Downton. Happy Christmas cooking!

David Mellor


Want to dine like the Crawleys? If you appreciate fine food, you won’t underestimate the importance of decent cutlery. The very smartest dining room tables, like the one in Downton Abbey, are laid with silver plate cutlery designed by David Mellor, Royal Designer for Industry. Mellor originally trained as a silversmith and specialised in metalwork, winning numerous design awards. He died in 2009 and now his son, Corn Mellor, is Creative Director of David Mellor Design. The site is a showcase for the finest examples of British crafts and kitchenware.

Mason Cash


We bet your granny had a Mason Cash mixing bowl. Ours certainly did. Used by home cooks for centuries, they have endured the test of time; in fact, the barely altered ‘white and cane’ bowl has become something of a design classic. Different generations have been making chocolate cakes (and licking the remnants) using the same traditional glazed earthenware mixing bowls since they were first developed in 1901. The very distinct original cane mixing bowls are made from high quality, chip-resistant earthenware which is heavy enough to stand when mixing but light enough to hold in one arm.

Objects of Use


There is an awful lot to like about the seriously cool homewares shop, Objects of Use, which is in Oxford and online. It describes itself as a modern-day hardware store and sells utility-like objects such as copper pots, wire implements and brass kettles. The household items on the site are enduring and beautiful household tools and functional items, which are a little bit quirky and have been built to last. Most items are sourced locally, and manufactured in the UK or Europe.

Yesterhome


Looking for kitchen golden oldies that offer timeless design? Based in Shropshire, the small family business, Yesterhome, sells authentic reproductions such as cast iron nut-crackers and enamel dishes. On the site, you can find wrought and cast iron hardware and kitchenware that has been recreated using authentic patterns and casting methods used over 100 years ago.

Fortnum & Mason


Three hundred and twelve years later, shoppers still buy into the charm and familiarity of luxury brand, Fortnum & Mason. Last year’s Christmas ad, its first ever, showed the shop’s history, which has spanned 12 monarchs, the moon landing, women earning the right to vote, and the Olympics. The shop was established in 1907 but there is nothing dated about the transactional website where you can buy fine china, elegant silverware, hampers and tea sets. Carson would have a field day, and we think you just might too.

Cornishware


Selling faster than Mrs Patmore’s hot cakes are the iconic blue and white striped bowls, plates, storage jars and mugs from trusted brand and household name, Cornishware. The familiar blue and white stripy kitchenware has been popular in English households up and down the country for nearly 100 years. It was first created in 1924 and has since appeared in children’s books, adverts and fashion magazines. They are still hand decorated in the West Country.

AG Hendy & Co


Chef, writer and photographer Alastair Hendy is well known for evoking the mood of the past and he certainly does this on his site, which showcases his shop, kitchen, house, cookery school and exhibitions. Alastair has beautifully restored a Tudor house, which has been featured in many books, newspapers and magazines and has set up a charming Victorian-style shop in Hastings. His kitchenware site is divided into new objects and those that are vintage; all have the timeless appeal of days gone by. We think the (new) enamel candleholder looks like something out of Downton Abbey.

Wares of Knutsford


If you are hunting for the harder-to-find traditional kitchen tools, an excellent site is Wares of Knutsford. You will discover the more unusual period appropriate accessories such as good quality fish scalers, meat ballers and nutcrackers. The traditional accessories section sells everything from cheese wire to baking stones, enamel pudding basins, pickle forks and the typical blackbird pie funnel. In other words, plenty to keep Mrs Patmore very busy indeed.

Tala


A good rolling pin and icing syringe set can be used for generations, and such is the case with many Tala kitchenware products. Tala sells the kitchen must-haves that have stood the test of time. It is one of the oldest baking and cake decorating brands, having been in operation since 1899. Much of the design and production methods remain largely unchanged. Today, traditional methods, highly skilled people and the same machinery are still used to manufacture most of its products. You can’t shop online yet but look at the website to browse the range and then find your nearest stockist.

Wedgwood


You can just imagine Mr Carson laying the breakfast table at Downton using elegant tableware by Wedgwood. This luxury fine bone china and porcelain manufacturer was founded, over 250 years ago, in 1759. The Wedgwood white collection captures the very essence of traditional English style and has been popular since it was first introduced in 1920. Like most of its dinner sets and cake stands, it is a timeless design.

READ MORE

Brilliant Sites for Buying and Selling Antiques and Vintage Finds
10 Best Websites For Sourcing French Antiques
Trawl For Treasure: Eight of the Best Sites for Car Boot Sales

By Annabel Jack
December 2019