People who think of traditional British cooking as bland will be surprised to learn that anchovies have been a staple of the British diet for hundreds of years. In the past they were most often used in garnishes and sauces, or in forcemeats (stuffing) for birds and beef olives. They were also an ingredient in the traditional salmagundy (salad).
Florence White's book 'Good Things in England,' a compilation of traditional English recipes from the 15th century up until the 1930s, contains scores of recipes including anchovies or 'essence of anchovy.' This book was recently reprinted by Persephone Books and is well worth getting for anyone interested in historic British cuisine. Some recipes provide evidence that not *all* English palates were adventurous: 'Peel the onions and throw them immediately into boiling water to remove the objectionable odour and taste.'