Shrove Tuesday in Worktown

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Everyone had their pancakes yet?

Last week one of our academics pointed me in the direction of some wonderful material that can be accessed from Mass Observation Online. The academic in question, Robert Snape, leads the university’s Centre for Worktown Studies, which undertakes and supports research relating to the “Worktown” photographs which were used as documentary evidence for the Mass Observation project (read my blog post from December 2017 to find out more).

Here’s what was noted about Shrove Tuesday in Westhoughton, 1933:

Heard five boys aged 12 singing on the way to school, 8.45 a.m.

“Pancake Tuesday is a very happy day

If you don’t give us holiday we’ll all run away

Eating toffee, chewing nuts

Shoving pancakes down our guts”

 

The observer continued that the boys discussed church attendance on Shrove Tuesday, and noted that “there were no dances in Westhoughton on Shrove Tuesday”. Two recipes were included in the observation, and a recommended flavour was lemon and sugar. In a further observation, a pancake eating game was described whereby if a pancake was not eaten by the time more had been made, there was a fine to pay!

Mass Observation Online can be accessed from the A to Z List of Databases. Pancakes can be served at any time…!

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