The first months of 1789 were an unusual time for the kitchen staff to be at Kew.
Normally, the royal family visited Kew in the summer months the winter visit of 1788-89 was unusual. Not only was it the longest time the kitchen staff worked continuously at Kew, it was also the time that they were least well prepared, being dictated to by the sudden and violent illness of the king, George III.
The Master Cook
The Master Cook at this time was William Wybrow. He had started his career in the royal household as a kitchen boy when the King was still Prince of Wales and, in 30 years, had made his way through the ranks to the top job of Master Cook. A rather meteoric rise by anyone's standards!
He had a son George who, like him, was put into the royal kitchens as a child, although George never progressed beyond the position of groom of the kitchen.
The kitchen was under the charge of the Master Cook whose staff included:
- A Turnbroach
- A porter
- Children of the Kitchen
Yeoman and grooms would have been responsible for making soups and sources and the turnbroach would have been responsible for turning the spit. Even with a smoke jack, the turnbroach would need to baste the meat, clear up and watch the meat did not burn.
The scullery workers were called scourers and were reasonably paid. A master scourer always had at least one assistant to help him in his hard, unpleasant work.
There were also boys and children who worked in the kitchen. Many of whom were as young as eight and were related to royal household workers, one occasionally was a son of the Master Cook himself.
A porter and a door keeper completed the list of all male staff working in the kitchen.