There are different versions on how high tea began, however they all seem to agree in that it came as an afternoon snack as the time between breakfast and dinner (traditionally being eaten around 8pm) was too long. It consisted of tea and a combination of savoury and sweet snacks was served. There was of course a difference in what was served for the different social classes, for the upper class, it was said snack in the afternoon, served in low tables; therefore afternoon tea is also known as “low tea”. For the lower class, the afternoon tea was actually the main meal of the day, thus the name “high”.
Random fact: It is estimated that, as a nation, British people consume around 62 billion cups of tea a year.