Dinners: Home Page
Benedictus benedicat per Jesum Christum
May the Blessed One bless us all through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Dinner in the thirties: There was one sitting. The mid-day meal was heralded by a furious striking of a gong by the School’s first caretaker, Mr Tropman. This magnificent gong was to be found hanging at the top of the dining hall staircase. As its signal, dinner boys lined up in Houses around the quad. and filed down to the dining hall. Here were five tables, apart from the cold dinner table - one table for each House and the centre tale rejoicing under the name of the ‘overflow’. House trophies graced the table and I seem to remember that the Stags table claimed most of them. The dinners were cooked by Mrs Tropman, wife of the caretaker. For those whose tummies were somewhat queasy a poached egg was to be had. Any who did not take to the sweet of the day could always have rice pudding. (AN OLD GRAMMARIAN LOOKS BACK )
Dinner in the Forties: School dinner was obligatory and was not the most elegant form of dining that has ever been devised. There were two sittings and the basement dining room was always reminiscent of a workhouse in my view. The tables had a strict pecking order with the most junior pupils being at the furthest end from the teacher or sixth former serving the food at the head of the table. England in 1946 was still under strict rationing so although the food was probably nutritious it wasn’t over appetising and on the rare days when something desirable was on the menu the juniors at the end of the table saw little of it. Steamed puddings with sauce in various flavours were invariably the order of the day, probably to make full use of the huge steam oven in which they were cooked. Richard Hall (1946)
Dinner in the Fifties: Long tables below ground level. Eat your course quickly so you could get second helpings, after all, we only had cereals for breakfast and bread and jam at home for the evening meal. Thoroughly enjoyed the meals though there was only Hobson's choice. Chips were impractical, mash ruled the roost and the puddings xxxxxx all that beautiful runny custard and rice pudding with the brown skin on top!!!! Of course just occasionally there was the disappointment of semolina. Graham Tall (1955)
We were allowed water, passed round in big white jugs, to wash away some of the less agreeable tastes. I remember to this day the smell of drinking from the plastic beakers - a heady mixture of the early plastic of the time and what seemed to be highly chlorinated water. And remember the crates of little milk bottles for consumption at morning break? Too cold to drink in the winter, and decidedly 'off' by break time on a hot summer day. And the big bins down below outside the kitchen, full of our leftovers waiting to be collected by the pig-swill lorry? Paul Robinson (1955)
Ah, school dinners – they should provide some lasting memories as they were a significant part of our school life or was the impact only short term on our digestive system. As I remember there were two sittings and I was assigned to the second sitting. A master or prefect sat at the end of the table and one started furthest away as the most junior and progressed steadily towards the table end as one advanced in years. I actually quite liked the food and in particular the braised heart with stuffing which appeared quite regularly. (I do not know whether this was the spur which led me to do research on the heart in later years or not). The appearance of this dish of course gave rise to the expected quip. Harry Wrenn had it down pat, the question being delivered with mock seriousness. “Who wants stuffing?” We waited to see which junior boy would raise his hand first. Sometimes Harry would refer the question to a particular boy, for example Bates and so the delivery was adjusted to “Master Bates, do you want stuffing?” Michael Eakins (1958)