Dinner, until the later part of the 18th Century, was served at midday.  However, as the number of upper-class people increased and upper-class people became more idle, dinner hours were later.   Later dinner hours set the upper-class members of society apart from the lower class.  Lower-class people prepared dinner during the day because it was cheaper to cook, to serve and to eat the main meal of the day in natural light.  Consequently, to avoid being associated with the lower classes of society, upper-class members would eat in the evening.

Eighteenth-century kitchen with servants preparing a meal, (Black, The Jane Austen Cookbook cover page)

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