Hatches, Matches and Despatches

611 TUTOR: Perry Staker

Take a detailed look at the superstitions, customs and traditions surrounding births, deaths and marriage in the British Isles following the invasion of the Romans to the present day. You will consider how the British have celebrated weddings and christenings over the years, the ceremonies involved, clothing worn and the special food eaten, looking at, for example, the history of the wedding cake. You will also look at how attitudes to death, funerals and mourning have changed over the centuries, considering the ceremonies involved, funerary customs and related subjects such as mourning clothes and jewellery.


3 PM
PM course

Course Notes


Hatches (Births)

The history of childbirth


oMedieval and Tudor


oand later

The history of midwives and midwifery

Christenings, christening clothing and gifts

Food and drink

oAssociated with pregnancy and childbirth

oChristening cakes

Days 2&3

Despatches (Deaths)

The history of funerary customs in Britain






Royal and State funerals

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the Unknown Warrior


oWith a visit to St Peter's Church to look at examples of memorials with tea, coffee and cake to follow

The developing role of the funeral director

The seven London cemeteries and the Necropolis Railway

The Resurrection Men

Mourning customs, conventions and rules

oMourning jewellery

oMourning clothing

oMourning accessories

Food and drink

Days 4&5

Matches (Marriages)

Who are you going to marry?

Courtship and customs in


oTudor times

oThe seventeenth century

oGeorgian and Regency times

oVictorian times


Wedding superstitions

History of marriage in the United Kingdom

Why did Gretna Green weddings become popular?

The marriage ceremony through the ages

Marriage by proxy

Wedding clothes



Wedding and engagement rings

Mis-matches - ending a marriage

Food and drink

oBride cakes and wedding cakes


Course Tutor

Perry Staker

Perry Staker

About Perry

After studying costume making and cutting at Wimbledon School of Art Perry worked for some years in the film/ theatre costume industry before ending up in the Civil Service by accident. Following her retirement from the Civil Service she occasionally works for her first employer making costumes for TV and films.

Interested in history from an early age Perry developed an interest in seventeenth century food and recipes during the 29 years she has spent as a member of the English Civil War Society.

In recent years she has widened her interest and research to include the food and recipes of other periods of history.

In 2018 she was invited to take on the role of the Victorian Cook in the BBC2 series 'The Victorian House of Arts and Crafts' shown in January 2019 and this triggered her developing interest in the Arts and Crafts Movement.

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All courses run for 5 days

WK 1 11 Jul - 15 Jul

WK 2 18 Jul - 22 Jul

WK 3 25 Jul - 29 Jul

WK 4 1 Aug - 5 Aug

Morning Courses

9.15AM to 12.15PM

Afternoon Courses

1.45PM to 4.30PM

All Day Courses

9.15AM to 4.30PM