Beer at Temple Newsam
Puzzle jug, pearlware, Leeds Pottery, about 1800. Photograph by Norman Taylor
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Object of the week- Puzzle jug

A puzzling pub peculiarity, this dainty-looking jug was once a popular way for landlords to keep their punters entertained.

Known as a puzzle jug, the ceramic receptacle is a fine example of a type that was a regular feature in homes and taverns in the 18th and 19th centuries.

This particular jug was made by the famous Leeds Pottery and dates from around 1800. Like all puzzle, jugs presents to prospective drinker with a challenge as to how to get to the beer inside without spilling it.

The perforated neck in particular, would have made that difficult and would’ve meant the thirsty pub-goer would need to identify a more unconventional way of drinking.

The solution to most puzzle jugs is a hidden tube running inside the jug, which means the drinker must suck from the spout end.

To make the puzzle more interesting, it was common to provide a number of additional holes along the tube, which must be closed off.

The jug is one of a number of objects being displayed at Temple Newsam House in a new exhibition exploring the history of beer, ale and brewing.

The Beer exhibition looks at the different roles beer and ale played at the mansion and in British culture in general between 1650 and 1850.

Dr Leila Prescott, a curator at Temple Newsam House, said: “We’ve found that a long and esteemed tradition of country house beer and brewing was established at Temple Newsam.

“In bringing to light these fascinating stories and some of the artwork and objects associated with historical beer and brewing, we hope we can help visitors to imagine what these fantastic celebrations were like and see the house in a whole new way.”

Temple Newsam’s Beer exhibition runs until October 27. Visit for more details.

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