Decorative 'bread-platters' were hugely popular in Victorian times, firstly among the elite who commissioned custom-made items featuring their coats-of-arms and mottos. They were also used to commemorate royal ceremonies, and of course, families put their crests on them if they were upper class. By the 1860s, enterprising workshops were producing bread-platters more cheaply with standardised carving for the mass market. The production centre until the 1950s was Sheffield, with skilled turners, carvers and metalworkers collaborating to produce matching sets of tableware. In the book, Madeleine Neave shows us how beautiful and varied the boards were, with the inclusion of butter knives, butter churners, and memories from her mother, Rosslyn, who began the collection after a childhood on a farm, milking cows by hand, and making butter.
Madeleine Neave runs the Antique Breadboard Museum from her home in Putney, She serves cream teas, and visitors are asked to choose which breadboard to have their scones and jam served on. Until recently, she was a teacher of French in London high schools.