Storm in a tearoom as scone wars break out

Storm in a cream tea cup: The mistake might have cost Lanhydrock customers, but it has made headlines across the UK.

Which first, the jam or the cream? It sounds like the start of a cream-tea joke, but a Mother’s Day photo showing a scone smeared with cream then a blob of jam has spark outrage in Cornwall.

What’s happening

If you live in Cornwall the spreading of a scone is a matter of fierce regional pride: spread the jam first and the cream second. The photo Lanhydrock used to advertise its Mother’s Day cream tea made the monumental mistake of showing scones spread in the Devon tradition of cream first, jam second.

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When Cornish locals saw the offending photo on Facebook, over 300 people complained to the National Trust, who run the house and gardens of Lanhydrock, which is situated firmly Cornish territory. The outcry prompted badges saying #JamFirst for the staff at Lanhydrock to wear, as the National Trust issued an apology.

Cornish-Devonshire rivalry often flares up over food. The famous Cornish pasty, with the pastry crust on the side has a Devonshire rival with a crust crowning the top of the pasty, with each county declaring their way to be “correct”.

While some people cared so much about cream teas they threatened to cancel their National Trust membership, others think it is “pathetic” — why get so worked up over something so silly as a scone?

Some say…

This is not about food, it is about regional identity. Cornwall and Devon are two counties close together in the South West of England, divided by the river Tamar, with different traditions and different identities. A respected organisation like the National Trust should care enough about local traditions and history not to make such a mistake.

Others think…

This is ridiculous. Once the cream tea is served, it is up to the person eating it to decide how they apply the jam or the cream. People from anywhere other than Cornwall (or Devon) will put the jam or the cream on however they prefer to eat it, regardless of where. Anyone taking it so seriously as to avoid ordering a cream tea in Lanhydrock is over-reacting.

You Decide

  1. Why should we respect regional traditions like the Cornish cream tea?


  1. The cream tea debate was sparked by Lanhydrock advertising its cream teas to attract customers on Mother’s Day. Design your own poster to advertise a Cornish cream tea (jam first, cream on top).

Some People Say...

“There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”

Henry James, novelist

What do you think?

Word Watch

The farthest county in the southwest peninsula of England.
A small savoury bread-like cake made with flour, butter and milk. For a cream tea, the scone should be plain.
Clotted cream is traditional for a cream tea.
County on the southwest peninsula, north of Cornwall.
National Trust
Organisation that runs many historical properties and gardens in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Baked pastry filled with meat or vegetables.


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