I’ve been making marmalade [OK, the cheat’s way, I admit, with Mamade as my base, but I do tart it up a bit] The tins are bright and colourful, so I have put my herbs in them. They are a cheerful flash of orange and green on the kitchen windowsill.
I love bright tinware like this, and if these rust a little, it won’t matter. Sadly this week I have to ‘retire’ my tea caddy [purchased September 1973] because the hinge has split, and the edges are sharp. It isn’t safe to have in daily use for tea-bag storage. I shall find another use for it. It is a traditional “Black Jap” design.
My gran had one, and so did my Mum. I have discovered that the design dates back at least to the 1950s. Black Jap tea caddies were produced by Daher. They began manufacturing tinware in Britain in 1952 until 1980, when the company changed its name to the Tin Box Company, and moved production to China. But P. Wilkinson Containers Ltd., established in London in 1930 and distributor for The Metal Box Company of Mansfield recently discovered a stash of ‘Black Jap’ tea caddies made by the Metal Box Company in the 1980s in one of their warehouses. They have been released for sale [at a premium price due to their rarity!]
As a child I was fascinated by the design – the red and gold, the ladies in their pyjamas with fans, the mandarin sitting under the cherry blossom being waited on by the little boy with the bowl and the chopsticks…the cranes on the lid.
Of course, the one at my gran’s house only ever contained loose tea leaves- I am not sure she could have coped with the idea of bags - let alone ignoring the teapot altogether and just dropping a bag in a mug of boiling water!
Was there one in your family when you were growing up? Have you got one of these? Bags or leaves?