Metalwork Trail, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

Tea Urn

This elaborate object is a tea urn. An urn is a hollow container used for storing something. 

The urn was made in the early 1800s, from Old Sheffield plate. It was designed in the shape of a bee hive and tea would have been poured out from the tap.

Urns were placed on the sideboards of wealthy homes from around the mid-1700s. 

Tea parties in the past:

Tea was once a very expensive item, because it had to be brought to England from countries, like India and China. Serving tea in your home from this urn would have made a tea party even more impressive for your visitors.


Hive - Shelter where bees can build a nest

Impressive - Something to show off 

Plate - Thinly beaten metal moulded into different shapes

Sideboard - Furniture used to store tableware 

View other relevant My Learning resources or see the teachers' notes page for discussion and activity ideas. 

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Document icon Learning article provided by: Museums Sheffield: Millennium Gallery | 
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