What are Antique Dole Cupboards?

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Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Dole cupboards, also known as livery cupboards, were used in the 15th century to store food. Filling the role of the modern day refrigerator to some extent, they were ventilated in such a way that made them suitable for food storage. The top and sides of the cupboard were often flat with the front door in geometrical shapes to allow air to go in and out.

Dole cupboards were first seen in the 15th century in England. These were made of oak wood and had beautiful carvings on the door. The food stored within was often to be doled out to the poor, hence the name. The ventilation prevented the food from spoiling quickly while the door allowed the food to be easily transported.

These dole cupboards were either kept on the floor or hung on walls, whichever was more convenient and easier for air to flow freely around. While you may not have much use for a dole cupboard as a place to store food, in present day homes their wonderfully carved appearance can still add a touch of beauty and character to any room.

Amongst our collection of antique oak cupboards, we have some beautiful dole cupboards from the past. Check out our antique cupboards section to have a look.