Gruesome Grub and Gory Stories

531 TUTOR: Perry Staker

Want to know about the Great Stink of 1858 and what was done about it, why Queen Elizabeth I's teeth were black, how to find a witch (and what to do with her when you've found her), who the Resurrection Men were, have a chance to feast like a Roman and banquet like a Tudor, meet a soldier from the English Civil War and learn about useful things to do with poo? Then this course is for you - learn all about gruesome (and not so gruesome) food, recipes to cure you of the plague and fascinating facts about history.

Course Notes

Day One

Gruesome Grub - awful food throughout the ages

- Everything but the oink - including some of the grossest recipes of all time

- Why it was a good thing to avoid eating sweets in Victorian times - and not just sweets!

Eat like a Roman

- Find out what's your Roman name

- Roman food, meals and mealtimes

- How they cooked

- What they cooked

- Roman dining

Have a go at making some Roman recipes - including

- Posca

- Spiced wine (the non-alcoholic version)

- Globuli

- Dates Alexandrine

And take part in your own Roman feast

Day Two

Revolting Remedies

- Find out what you're suffering from - and how we can make you better (if we can!)

- The history of medicine

- Crazy cures - recipes to make you better to make at home (better not try these 😊)

- Have a go at making up a recipe to cure everything - you'll like this one!

- The history of false teeth

The history of the Loo

- ... and of loo paper

- The Great Stink and how Mr Bazalgette sorted it

- Discover the secret rivers of London

- Poo and wee - and what to do with themů

Day Three

Crime and punishment

- Trial by combat

- How the jury system began

- How they found out if you dunnit (or encouraged you to confess even if you hadn't ☹)

- And how you got punished for it

the death penalty


and other ghastly punishments

Witches: how to find them and what to do about them when you've caught them

- Matthew Hopkins, the Witchfinder General

The English Civil War

- Meet a civil war soldier and find out about life in the New Model Army

Day Four

Bring out your dead!

- What happened when you died if you were a Roman

- The Spitalfields Roman burial


- How they started

- Types of gladiators - and which one are you?

The story of the Unknown Warrior

The Resurrection Men - the story of the body snatchers

- Meet Burke and Hare - and the London Burkers

The Necropolis Railway - and why it was established

'Orrible Occupations or what children did before they invented schools:

- In coal mines

- Up chimneys

- Down sewers

- In factories and in the fields

Day Five

Horrendous Henry, Malevolent Mary and Glorious Gloriana

- Horrendous Henry and his six wives - and why did he get so fat?

- Malevolent Mary - why was she so miserable (and not very nice?)

- Glorious Gloriana - her fashion and makeup tips - and why did her teeth go so black?

Eat like a Tudor

- Meals and mealtimes

- What they cooked

- How they cooked

Spices- find out where they came from and what they were used for

The Tudor banquet - and what was served

Have a go at making some Tudor sweetmeats

- Tudor gingerbread

- Sweetmeats

- Bacon and eggs

- Hippocras (the non-alcoholic version)

And attend a Tudor Banquet

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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Summer School Dates for 2022

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