The Case of the Crimean Hot Cross Bun

The other evening I had a curious conversation on Twitter. If you follow a lot of museum-y folk, this is something that can occur quite often. This conversation made me smile because it managed to create an overlap with two of my favourite things: museums and baking.

Just like Jane Austen’s bread pudding did, although this baked good isn’t quite so tasty.

Enough beating around the proverbial bush. This is the tweet I wanted to share.

Who knew that the Pontefract Museum has a hot cross bun from the Crimean War?

One of the really great things about museum folk is how we love to share stories. Let’s face it, if we didn’t,  we’d all be out of jobs! With that in mind, I’m going to share this story with you.

In case you can’t open that link, I’ll give you a brief summary of how that innocent hot cross bun was inedible almost from the start. Are you sitting comfortably? Good, then I’ll begin.

The bun was donated in 1958  by a Mr J W Fleam, to the Saltwell Park Museum in Gateshead (alas no longer with us, it was open from 1933-1969). According to Mr Fleam, the bun was sent in the post, and by the time it reached it’s intended recipient it was rock hard!

Naturally, the soldier popped it in his pocket and forgot all about it. As you do, I suppose. It was still there when he returned from the war and has become a kind of war relic.

After the Saltwell Park Museum closed, the bun found its way into the collection at the Pontefract Museum.


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