Queen Victoria Tin

A taste of home sent by Queen Victoria to the troops in South Africa

In 1899 Queen Victoria decided to send a gift of chocolate to her troops serving in South Africa.

The idea was that every soldier regardless of rank would receive a tin featuring Queen Victoria’s face and a Happy New Year greeting with a half pound of chocolate contained inside. Queen Victoria herself footed the bill for these tins which had been designed with rounded corners to make them easy to store in soldiers’ knapsacks. They were very popular with the troops and were often retained by them (sometimes with the contents uneaten) as treasured souvenirs of the war.




Rectangular gold-painted metal tin with hinged lid. The lid is painted red, gold and blue and features the embossed portrait and royal cypher of Queen Victoria and the inscriptions "SOUTH AFRICA 1900" and "I wish you a happy new year Victoria R.I.". Dimensions: 160mm (width), 25mm (height), 85mm (depth)

Did you know?

Queen Victoria's aides contacted the British chocolate manufacturers Cadbury, Fry and Rowntree to ask them to supply the chocolate for the tins. All three companies were owned by Quakers who as pacifists were totally opposed to war. They feared being seen to profit from the conflict if they supplied the chocolate and also feared the damage to their reputations should they refuse to comply with the Queen's request. As a result of this they initially donated the chocolate for free but put them in unbranded tins. However, when Queen Victoria learned of this she insisted the troops knew they were getting British chocolate and the firms backed down and complied.