120-year-old chocolates found in war helmet

The lid of the tin of chocolates Queen Victoria sent to the troops
Photo: Hulton Archive / Stringer (Getty Images)

It’s best to avoid eating things you find while rummaging around in an attic. That’s a good rule of thumb, I think—even if you stumble upon a century-old box of chocolates. That’s what happened in Norfolk, eastern England, when family members found an ancestor’s Boer War helmet case containing a tin of chocolates commissioned by Queen Victoria herself.

Advertisement

CNN reports that the chocolate was manufactured by British confectioners Cadbury, Fry, and Rowntree in 1900. At Queen Victoria’s behest, the chocolate was meant to boost morale for soldiers fighting in the Second Boer War in South Africa. According to Britain’s National Trust, the companies eventually produced 100,000 half-pound tins inscribed with messages from the monarch.

The National Trust released a press release explaining that this particular chocolate stash belonged to the 8th Baronet Henry Edward Paston-Bedingfeld. Staff and members of his family reportedly found the tin while scouring the attic of a National Trust building. “It’s fully intact but deteriorated a bit now. You can still see a brownish color, but it’s not very appetizing for Easter,” the property’s curator, Lynsey Coombs, told CNN. “He may have wanted to keep it as a memento from the Queen or just forgot about it... Or he may have just not liked chocolate.”

While the chocolate and helmet aren’t yet on display, the National Trust has “wrapped the chocolate in acid-free tissue and stored it in a space with a stable temperature and humidity.” Maybe if I stop tweeting about my own butt, the Queen will send me chocolate, too.

Staff writer @ The Takeout, joke writer elsewhere. Wrangling dogs and pork shoulder in Chicago.

DISCUSSION

eddie-brannan
Eddie-Brannan