The History Room
The idea of this section is to put
number of historical reprints about cidermaking in past
some very interesting stuff dating from the first half of the last
when the scientific understanding of cidermaking was just beginning.
Barker, writing in the 1950's after half a century of cider research at
Long Ashton, regarded the best of those ciders from
the finest he'd ever tasted (while the worst
It's interesting that the
in these articles all make the assumption that bottled
be slightly sweet and naturally-conditioned in the bottle.
This practice died out commercially in the 1950's to be replaced by
carbonation and pasteurisation... some of us are still doing it,
and we believe it makes the finest cider!!
The other interesting thing
is that cider in
days was a totally seasonal activity. It took one whole year
the cycle to repeat itself and nobody thought of trying to make cider
times of year when the apples weren't available. Nowadays,
cider is made throughout the year on a short fermenting and maturing
from juice and concentrate. Many amateurs, especially if they
a brewing background, also try to do the same...! But the
cidermaker, like the winemaker, works with the seasons and not against
I haven't had time
to add much to this section yet, and so far there isn't a lot
As time goes on, I'll try to scan in more.....
The scanning and digitisation of various historical texts into the
public domain has now reached as far as cider. Here are some
links to seminal texts in cidermaking and orcharding which can now be
downloaded for free. The files are mostly pretty big, but well worth a
read if you have a broadband connection.
De vino et pomaceo (1588)
by Julien Le Paulmier. This is the very first printed cider manual
known, written by a Norman French doctor and horticulturalist but
in Latin as was usual for technical books of those days. It was
published in French in the following year. This is the
original Latin text.
or, A discourse of forest-trees, and the propagation of
timber in His Majesties dominions. As it was deliver'd in the Royal
Society, the XVth of October, CI)I)CLXII ...
To which is annexed,
Pomona; or, An appendix concerning fruit-trees in relation to cider,
the making and several ways of ordering it. This
is John Evelyn's Pomona of 1664, one of the first English cider essays
and being noteable for its contributions from many other
(noteably Dr Beale of Yeovil) as well as Evelyn himself. This
'must read' for anyone interested in cider history,
the early development of bottled cider. [One in the eye for the 'only
real cider is cloudy in a cask' brigade!]. There's a
of 'Sylva' to skip first, though (interesting though that is too).
treatise on cyder-making, founded on long practice and experience, with
a catalogue of cyder-apples of character, in Herefordshire and
Devonshire. To which is prefixed a dissertation on cyder and cyder
fruit by Hugh Stafford Esq of Pynes in Devonshire (1753). This
work appears to be anonymous since, although it is usually referred to
as 'Stafford', it appears he wrote only the introductory section. It is
a good practical cidermaking manual, which was poached and plagiarised
into several later forms such as domestic encyclopedias. There is even
a contemporaneous (1772) German translation, also available online. The book is also available in a modern facsimile.
on the Culture of the Apple and Pear and on the Manufacture of Cider
and Perry by Thomas Andrew Knight. Second
Edition 1801. Knight was a Herefordshire landowner and a founder of the
Royal Horticultural Society. Although some of his ideas e.g. on the
natural longevity of fruit trees are now known to be wrong , his
contribution to the the 19th century scientific study of
cidermaking and growing cannot be overestimated.
General View of the Agriculture of the County of Worcester by William
Pitt 1810 to which is added as an
Appendix "A treatise on the cultivation of
apple trees, and
the preparation of cider : being a theoretical and practical work for
the use of the inhabitants of the Island of Jersey / translated from
the French of the late Rev. Francis Le Couteur, A.M." These
are two classic early 19th century works, well worth a read
for their detailed cider making descriptions.
A view of the cultivation of fruit trees,
and the management of orchards and cider; with accurate descriptions of
the most estimable varieties of native and foreign apples, pears,
peaches, plums, and cherries, cultivated in the middle states of
America: illustrated by cuts of two hundred kinds of fruits of the
natural size .. (1817) by William
Coxe. The first
American fruit book, and an absolute classic. Interestingly,
contains quite a lot of cidermaking information too, much of it drawn
from the work of the Herfordshire cider pioneer Thomas Andrew Knight,
with whom Coxe corresponded. Coxe himself was a New Jersey
American orchardist; or, A practical treatise on the culture and
management of apple and other fruit trees, with observations on the
diseases to which they are liable, and their remedies. To which is
added the most approved method of manufacturing and preserving cider.
Comp. from the latest and most approved authorities, and adapted to the
use of American farmers (1822)
Thacher. Following close on the heels of William Coxe, the
American fruit book! Another great read with plenty of
cidermaking information too.
The Manufacture of Cider and Perry, reduced to Rules by John Ham (1828).
This is a somewhat superficial manual published in Sherborne,
Dorset, showing that the West Midlands Counties did not have the field
all to themselves at that time, although Ham leans heavily on their
Manuel théorique et pratique du fabricant de cidre et de poiré by L-F Dubief (1834). By comparison with Ham (above),
this is a very detailed and much more professional volume which covers
both cider fruit and cider manufacture. It was published as
part of Roret's Encyclopedia and remained in print for many years till
the end of the 19th century.
Apple and Pear as Vintage Fruits (1886) by Robert Hogg and
Henry Bull. This book followed their earlier "Herefordshire Pomona" and
far more detail on specific cider fruit varieties, their cultivation
the practice of cider making. Bull sadly died before it was published,
and it was completed by Hogg. This book is part of the late 19th
cider revival set in train by authors such as these who were saddened
the poor state of English cidermaking and relevant knowledge at the
Report on the results of
into cidermaking, carried out on behalf of the Bath and West and
Southern Counties Society in the years 1893-1902
(1903) by FJ
Llloyd. This is the classic series of experiments (the
trials' ) sponsored by the Bath and West Society and Neville Grenville,
which led to the foundation of the Long Ashton Research Station. There
is still plenty of value in this 145 page report to interest the
serious craft cidermaker today, and a number of pertinent remarks about
the state of the market which are no less true than when they were
A study of cider making in France,
England with comments and comparisons on American work
WB Alwood. This classic 114 page book was written by Alwood to a
commission from the US Department of Agriculture. It contains detailed
descriptions, details, drawings and photographs of turn-of-the-century
cidermaking in four countries. It has to be said that British practice
does not come out very well, with the exception of Bulmers and the
Butleigh experiments described above (the precursor to Long Ashton Research Station)!
This page last updated 9th November 2008