Staff in Kew Kitchens

Staff in Kew Kitchens

Illustration of the Royal Kitchens at Kew

From master cook to master scourer, find out who was responsible for what in the Royal Kitchens of 1789

Who's who in the kitchen?

The Master Cook in 1789 was William Wybrow. He had started his career in the royal household as a kitchen boy and, in 30 years, had made his way through the ranks to the top job of Master Cook. 

His staff included:

  • Yeomen
  • Grooms
  • Turnbroaches
  • Scourers
  • A porter
  • Children of the Kitchen

Yeomen and grooms would have been responsible for making soups and sources and the turnbroaches would have been responsible for turning the spit. Even with a smoke jack, the turnbroaches 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. 

Children worked in the kitchen, they were boys, many as young as eight, and were normally related to the royal household workers.

The Clerk of the kitchen

The Clerk of the Kitchen was William Gorton. He had been a tax inspector and was at first dissatisfied with his royal appointment, not having a dining room of his own. However, conditions were improved for him when he threatened to resign. 

That he was good at his job is evident by the fact that he was appointed Comptroller (Controller) of the Household in the early 19th century. 

The Clerk of the Kitchen and his assistant were responsible for keeping charge of the books, the deliveries and the expenditure. No food could be ordered without his authority.

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