The kitchens of Audley End House

Recipes from a Victorian Kitchen

The Servants' Wing at Audley End House and Gardens in Essex is the perfect place to experience Victorian life.

With its stunning open range, high ceilings, wonderful copper pans and kitchenware, the kitchens at Audley End would have been a hive of activity in Victorian England, as the cook and her staff busily prepared dishes for Lord and Lady Braybrooke.

Mrs Avis Crocombe was the cook at Audley End in the 1880s and we have brought some of her recipes to life in the kitchens she worked in.

Visit Audley End House & Gardens

The Real Mrs Crocombe

Who was the real Avis?

Join Peter Moore as he explores the life and work of Mrs Avis Crocombe who was the head cook at Audley End House in the 1880s. She compiled many different recipes in her handwritten cookery book which includes a range of Victorian delights - including a recipe for roasted swan!

Plus, in a series of three videos, we speak to Dr Annie Gray about Avis' life at Audley End, how she was reimagined in the kitchens experience, and her unusually senior position for a woman in Victorian England.

  • Part One: Victorian Kitchen Life

    In part one, go behind the scenes on the Victorian way with food historian Dr Annie Gray. Learn about the life of Avis Crocombe and her staff at Audley End House during the Victorian period.

  • Part Two: Avis Returns to Audley

    In part two of our behind the scenes mini-series, Annie Gray talks about how Avis Crocombe - and her cookbook - returned to Audley End House after more than 100 years, thanks to a generous donation.

  • Part Three: Breaking the Mould

    In the final part of our mini-series with Dr Annie Gray, discover how Avis Crocombe fought for a position of profession in the incredibly male-dominated field of cooking in late 19th-century England.

A Victorian Cook's Outfit

Dr Annie Gray Explains

Join historian Dr Annie Gray as she takes you through the components of the outfit worn by a Victorian cook such as Avis Crocombe. From the all-important corset to a delicate pleated cap, go behind the scenes of The Victorian Way to see how the outfit is recreated by modern-day historical interpreters at Audley End House.

Mrs Crocombe's Savoury Recipes

An event at Audley End House

Audley End Events

Go behind the scenes at Audley End House and experience for yourself the inner workings of a Victorian kitchen.

On our special event days, you can meet Mrs Crocombe as she prepares a meal for the family, learn from the stable-hands while they groom the horses, and meet housekeeper Mrs Warwick and other members of staff as they organise the house for the day.

There are also plenty of other ways to get 'hands on' with history by taking part in our events happening across the country.

Search all events

You might also enjoy...

  • Battenburg Cake. Photographed by Henry Cooksey on Flickr (cropped image) License:

    Blog: The Queen and her Cakes

    Curator Michael Hunter gives a brief account of a quintessential British institution, afternoon tea, and gets to the bottom of three cakes closely associated with Queen Victoria.

  • YouTube

    Subscribe on YouTube

    Uncover the story of England as we bring history to life on screen. Subscribe to the English Heritage YouTube channel and never miss a video.

  • Members get more

    Membership from £43.50

    Delve deeper into the past and enjoy unlimited access to over 400 historic places, with free entry for up to six accompanying children.

  • Gifts for Cooks

    Shop: Gifts for Cooks

    Get ready to bake with our range of products from the Mary Berry Collection and our award winning scrumptious curds, jams and chutneys.

'step into englands story