One of more compact yet still impressive attractions in Bath is Sally Lunn's Eating House. This is where Bath Buns, otherwise known as Sally Lunn's Buns, were invented. This historic building tucked away at 4 North Parade Passage is said to be the oldest house in Bath. Today it is used as a teahouse and museum.
Who Was Sally Lunn aka Solange Luyon?
A young maid called Solange Luyon arrived in Bath circa 1680. She was escaping persecution by Catholics in France, as she was a protestant Huguenot. She found work in this house, which was then simply a bakery. Her English work colleagues had difficulty pronouncing her name and thus her alias Sally Lunn was born.
What is it About Sally's Buns?
She had gained knowledge of baking Brioche in France, which is a yeasty, light, sweet bread. She shared this knowledge and created the secret recipe that is still used here today. Her baking became talk of the town. This unique "bun" creation is in taste and texture somewhere between a bread bun and cake. The large white bread cake can be bought to eat in or take away. With savoury or sweet, Sally’s buns are always a special treat!
Sally Lunn's House - The Oldest House in Bath?
According to Forsythe (2003) this gabled 4 story building's early Stuart architecture is rare in Bath. However he calls into question the date of the building on the plaque pictured. The shop front facade is covered with lime based plaster and was built around the middle of the 18th century. It is popularly rumoured in the city to be the oldest house in Bath. This may be due to an old building that was on the first floor level. Originally it is said monks from the nearby Bath Abbey lived here. Pevsner and Foyle (2011) agrees with this to an extent saying it's architeture is as above, with inserted sash windows. However, it was built by a carpenter called George Parker around 1622.
Enjoy Morning Coffee, Afternoon Tea or an Evening Meal
In this lovely house today you can enjoy these famous bun delights along with a divine morning coffee. They are also open at lunch and of course for the most important Georgian pastime, afternoon tea. There is also a Bistro available for you to have a romantic candle lit dinner. Fundamentally it is quaint English teahouses with some unique local produce that is a world-beater. However I offer you a word of warning. It is always best to booking a table here far in advance, That is especially the case for later on as it is very popular eating-house in the evenings.
Original Bakery Kitchen Museum
The building is also a museum. In fact you could say the whole building is a museum as is the food! But, don't worry all the food is freshly prepared. In fact it is noteworthy mainly because some food here is prepared using a unique historic recipe. There is also a small kitchen museum to see here which is open daily. It has within it what is purported to be the original kitchen that Sally worked in. She may have in fact created the secret bun recipe in that very kitchen.
- Kevin Ireson the author and editor
- No Author. Sally Lunn's Historic Eating House' [Online]. Available at http://www.sallylunns.co.uk (Accessed 30 July 2015)
- No Author. 'Archives ref BPT 2/6/290/2' [Online]. Available at http://www.bath-preservation-trust.org.uk (Accessed 30 July 2015)
- Forsyth, M. (2003) Bath, New Haven & London, Yale University Press.