Contents Our Memories Food, (In)Glorious Food
The Main Dining Hall (MDH)
Dining in the Halls
The Cook-Freeze System
Dining in the Refectory
The Catering Staff
Best & Worst
Grace Under Pressure
Marmalade With Everything
In My Time ....
One thing we all remember is the College food; in particular, our likes and dislikes. There was never enough of the former and always too much of the latter. The regime of the College kept us hungry, but what didn't satisfy us at the table could be supplemented by tuck - from the shop or by parcel from home.
Initially we all ate together in the Main Dining Hall (MDH) and then, with the advent of the accommodation blocks, in our individual Houses. The latter system was streamlined in the 1970s when the cook-freeze process was introduced, but the wheel completed a full circle with the establishment of the present central refectory.
(page idea by Susan Wilson (Pearson))
The Main Dining Hall (MDH)
I was down the M.D.H. one day
When much to my surprise
We had a gorgeous dinner
Of ham and chicken pies.
The room was really spotless
With not a speck of dust,
The building - it was made of brick
Instead of tin and rust.
There were waiters all around us
A-dishing out the nosh -
I thought it was a swish hotel
Because it was so posh,
And on each table there were eight
Instead of quite sixteen,
With ample room for elbows,
And napkins Persil clean,
With sparkling wine in goblets
Reflecting silver gleam ............
I thought that this was much too good.
Of course - it was a dream.
Susan Ritchie (3rd Year)
(from the 1976 College Magazine)
(click to enlarge)
I remember the system where, once a term, some pupils (it might just have been sixth formers) used to have to lunch in a hut next to the netball courts with the head and other staff, This was where the day pupils used to lunch. We used to call this unwelcome disruption of the normal routine "troughing."
That was in the Main Dining Hall (MDH) and, as you say, it was where the day pupils ate lunch originally. After they joined up with the boarding Houses we had to rotate through there, for lunches, for a week at a time to make room in the Halls for everyone. I also had the 'pleasure' of eating in there a lot when travelling to 'away' sports events, so had to have early lunches or late teas. The food was nothing to get too enthusiastic about at the best of times, but can you imagine what it was like after being 'kept warm' for an hour or two.
I shall always remember waiting outside before we were allowed in to eat and listening to the cockroaches chirping from inside the wooden walls. I am sure that if the same rules that apply now had applied then, the whole place would have been condemned as unsanitary in an instant.
Fry's turn at dining there while gutting and updating the Halls' kitchens is memorable to me for the birds I seem to recall flying in and out all the time. And there were holes in the roof, but that may just be my memory exaggerating.
Iain (Sid) Sidey
When I used to fly home at the end of term, they would lay on an Early Breakfast at the Main Dining Hall. Being a Good Little Sheep, because it was on the Transport Instructions, I used to go down and have it - no question. Now, being a Grown Up, I can't understand why I did this - particularly as it used to be covered in tinned tomato juice, which, to this day, I can't stand. Possibly because that's where the packed lunches were, so if you wanted a packed lunch, you had to turn up for breakfast - but that also begs the same 'why did I do this' question, because the packed lunches weren't worth the walk either. I had a WyCol packed lunch confiscated at Nicosia Airport once - but that's another story!
Sue Baxter (Muir)
Dining in the Halls
In the early Sixties the dining halls had (and presumably still have) a concertina partition that was very rarely removed. We were therefore separated from the other House (South/Gloucester in my case) and there were separate serving hatches from the kitchen. It was not a cafeteria system in those days and everyone ate together at a fixed time.
We were summoned by a gong and filed in to stand by our places. There was a minimum of eight to a table (maximum 10) and the staff had their own, in a position that allowed a commanding view. The tables and side benches were made in the workshops, or at least some of them were, to Bob Mullenger's design.
After Grace by the duty prefect, the food for each table was collected by a minion and it was dished out by a sixth former in supposedly equal portions, but you can imagine how some would be more equal than others! We didn't get chips very often and when they were on the menu there weren't many to go round (the dish being the size of a fruit bowl).
Bill (Herb) Atkins
Canterbury (Kett) dining hall in the early Sixties.
Malcolm 'Bish' Barnham at left, Stephen Clifford on the same side of the table, Patrick Noble in profile (back to camera), David Eddy (glasses) and Roger Goodwin (front & out of focus). Ian Kett with the glasses (standing in the background). From the teapot, cups & saucers on the table it wasn't a lunch time (we had water then). On the staff table, there is Eric Woodhouse (Chemistry - back to camera), Brian Williams (shielded by Eric ) and Bessy Fish (Matron).
The Cook-Freeze System
In September 1976 the catering system at the College was revolutionised by the introduction of a cook-freeze system, whereby main meals were cooked and quick-frozen centrally, for later consumption. The main objectives were to increase efficiency and cut costs. Was it successful? Please tell us. The 1977 College Magazine carried a comprehensive article on the new system, entitled 'Exterminate the Sparrows.'
The Unit Cooking it up ... ... and dishing it out
Dining in the Refectory
The Refectory came into use in September 1987.
Claire ----, Katy ----- and Angie ----- decide whether to eat a spam fritter or a 40 year old ration book. This was part of the '40 years on' celebration in 1991.
A possible note for your food section when talking about the “new” central refectory. When this was being built it meant the final demolition of the by then old music nissen hut. It took ages to build, and it was a great source of interest to us all. In my time I “acquired” a number of the special little nuts, washers and funny little plastic caps intended to stop annoying little kids undoing the screws while they queued for dinner (didn’t work. All it meant is you have to take it off first). Anyway, 20 years on I have just used the last one of the little screws. They make superb screws for attaching things into plaster board as the thread on them is very wide.
The food was universally regarded as not as good as when we had it in the Halls; not least because on the few occasions that there was something good, you had far less chance of seconds.
Tim Vogel (New Hall and Lincoln 1982-1989)
The Catering Staff
Peel Hall staff c1960 MDH staff c1950 & c1960 Management 1986 Matilda Jolly 1986 Irene Lloyd 1986 Messrs. Eaglen & Lord 1986 Your photo Your photo Bob Bales 2008
The Best & the Worst
(personal opinions of course!)
The Dog's Dinner
Bacon & marmalade sandwiches
Sausage & marmalade sandwiches
Scrambled egg - the green variety
Warm rolls at breakfast
Jam and banana sandwiches
Bread & butter pudding
Peanut butter & ketchup sandwiches
Mashed potato - with the grey bits
Baked rice pudding
Pig's liver 'cooked' in grease
Chocolate pudding & chocolate sauce Winter Salad Lemon meringue pie Russian fish pie Queen of Puddings Dried fruit salad
OK, so we can easily complain about the bad food (personally I prefer to forget bad things). what GOOD FOOD can you think of? I was one for the bacon and marmalade sandwiches. I think it must've been a Wells/Fry thing. I adored the bread and butter pudding, bakewell tarts, baked rice pudding, and egg and chip teas. I still think of Pat Stevens when ever I eat a fried eggs. She used to lean over to me at school and say 'liquid chickens' with such a malicious grin, but I was always so starving that I still ate mine and usually got hers too!
I like the bread 'n butter pudding too, but one of the favourites was the chocolate pudding and chocolate sauce. I still remember the large plastic jugs that were used at various times as water jugs, milk jugs and for custard/chocolate sauce to go with the various steamed puddings and hot pies. At least these were only served at lunch times and it was the custom in Durham (don't know about the other Houses) for the members of staff to sit at the heads of some of the tables while the prefects sat at the staff table. Having a member of staff dishing out the food meant that everyone had EQUAL shares rather than the seniors getting most and us 'plebs' the crumbs, along with the thick 'skin' of the top of the custard/sauce that everyone else had tried to avoid.
I also liked the curried eggs, which were not the favourite with many others, so I was always able to get extras. This became well known in New Hall, as I would occasionally be passed 'left-overs' from other tables. Half a dozen or more would not be unusual; I was a growing lad and 1st XV player at the time so I needed the protein/calories!
Lemon Meringue pie was one of my favourites. It was similar in Fry, with staff at the table heads at lunchtime. I had forgotten that. In a similar vein, I had always thought I was a fast eater but hadn't realised why! Imagine my surprise when meeting and eating with ex Wycoll people for the first time this year. They all eat fast; even the girls! In fact, in an ex Wycoll group, I am only an average speed eater whereas, in the outside world, I still eat faster than most. Presumably it's a technique developed to give yourself the best chance of seconds.
Steve Grant describes another useful malnutrition avoidance technique. This is to develop a liking, or at least a high tolerance level, for generally unpopular dishes. These would include semolina (including skin), fried eggs at breakfast (occasionally possible to eat all eight after having carefully patted off the grease with dry bread) and bean cobbler (a teatime concoction which consisted of "Maid Marian" baked beans mixed with all the recent leftovers topped off with dumplings). Fried eggs were not popular at breakfast time in Fry, but for tea with chips it could be difficult to get two. I wonder why that was? The nett result of all this is that, having arrived at school as an incredibly fussy eater, by the time I left I would eat almost anything. I still will ... except beetroot of course. Ughhh!!!
In the late 70s and early 80s, Russian Fish Pie was the best. I also still love bacon & marmalade rolls, in fact the warm rolls (and real butter?) at breakfast were the best food Wymondham offered!
I had cod at lunch once and got a fish bone stuck in my throat. All the sickbay staff literally sat on me whilst one got it out with a pair of tweezers. They shone an anglepoise lamp in my face and told me what a baby I was because I was crying. I still have problems with fish .....
I hated being on staff duty at mealtimes. You had to lay their table, bring all their food and plates, and jump up to their every command - getting severe indigestion and very little food yourself along the way. The worst bit was wiping their table afterwards. The staff in Cavell always seemed to take ages to eat, so all the other tables were cleared and the rest of the House looked on in complete silence while you fumbled about trying not to get crumbs on Messrs. Hoare or Hiscox. Totally humiliating for a shrinking violet like me.
I am afraid I have to concur with Julie and Morag (and others). I still enjoy the odd bacon and marmalade sandwich (much to the disgust of my family!). Sausage and marmalade sandwiches work well too.
I remember attempting to sneak the sandwiches out of breakfast. It was great to get away with it, but very occasionally (whilst celebrating a successful mission) the sandwiches were 'confiscated' by seniors! I remember warming cold, damp toast under the teapot (not very hygenic upon reflection!).
My only real memory of the packed lunches is sitting in the coach swapping fruit for Penguins and putting crisps in sandwiches to give them some taste. They were something of a treat though; after all, sweets and crisps were in short supply - unless you were able to 'persuade' the goodies from elsewhere. I do remember that whenever we got a packed lunch, there was a really good hot meal on. Fish and chips, or chocolate pudding and so on.
I can concur with the assessments of Russian Fish Pie (good) Bean Cobbler (nasty), but how anyone could scoff down eight rubber eggs with such suspiciously smooth and uniform whites is beyond me. I have a particularly repulsive memory of the uneaten breakfast eggs being served up cold at suppertime in sandwiches - I can't believe this delicacy has been blanked from everyone else's memory (perhaps this was a Peel Hall speciality). Of course these sandwiches were particularly slippery little morsels and a certain amount of dexterity was necessary to keep the egg within the two slices of Mother's Pride (bars of soap and babies spring to mind!). In fact I have kept all three of my children entertained in toddlerdom with the famous story of Mum Losing Control of her Egg - being another self conscious little pleb, I was too mortified to speak up when a third year got it stuck on the bottom of her "indoor shoe" and walked up two flights of stairs before I heard the horrified screech. I seemed to have a real knack for such culinary catastrophes - at my very first meal at W.C. (always cold meat salad as the kitchens hadn't got up steam until Monday morning) a pickled onion shot off my plate into the middle of the room and, halfway through the term, one of my mandatory quarters of marmaladed bread went the same way, welding itself to the underside of Glenys Owen's foot!! Sorry Glenys.
I must also add a few items to your lists: Spam fritters - vile (the thought of those little beauties swimming up your arteries is eye-watering), Queen of Puddings - absolutely DIVINE and a great favourite of Jacquie King (I loved being on her table - she used to yell CAAAAAKES!! at us 1st. years and we would respond as fast as possible ... she made life bearable), dried fruit salad - excellent and plentiful as not popular and winter salad - absolutely disgusting and surely a contradiction in terms. Sorry to ramble on ... I thought I wanted to forget all about school, but I could write a whole book about the food!
Catherine Kidd (now Irving) - Peel/New 1968-73
Grace Under Pressure
When we ate in the Houses, it fell to the duty prefect to say Grace before and after meals. After the usual shuffling of feet and scraping of benches, a hush would fall, awaiting the issue of thanks to the Almighty. In York at least, it was common for the prefect to forget his duty so, after a pause, Jack Hawkyard or the duty Housemaster would say the appropriate words and glare at the offending prefect (who was rarely prompted by his/her peers, for the morsel of fun to be gained from the event).
After a particularly diabolical evening meal in '64, with only Matron (Mrs Saunders) on the staff table, duty prefect Graham Hawken (in his smooth plummy tones) said "For what we should have received, may the Lord make us truly thankful." Those of us in the vicinity knew this was coming, so while adding an emphatic AMEN, we watched the Old Bat in gleeful anticipation - and weren't disappointed. Her face went livid and she squawked 'HAWKEN! I'LL SEE YOU AFTERWARDS.' Unfortunately, as we shuffled out, giggling madly, there was Jack standing outside the door. Poor old Graham. Brave chap, but foolish. Very foolish.
Bill (Herb) Atkins (1958-64)
If I recall correctly (that's about 50/50 these days), it was Tony Marter who had the balls to end one rather inadequate attempt at feeding us with "For what we have received, may the cooks be thoroughly ashamed." He got a right bollocking from Thornley for that - and, predictably, absolutely nothing changed on the culinary front. Regardless, we all felt as if a big one had been scored for the rank and file.
Paul S. Clarke
In Gloucester we had a thing called the 'afterbirth butty' which was a tomato sauce and peanut butter sandwich that Alan Wright aka 'Radak' was particularly fond of if I recall. These looked absolutely disgusting but actually tasted quite good surprisingly. Seeley most certainly was not keen on these, but then he had no taste. He used to say 'I can't abide knives in jam jars,' so we had to decant our private jam and peanut butter supplies into special little pots.
One of the most excruciatingly awful WyCol meals that I remember is "Sea Pie," which seemed to have no connection at all with the sea. If you ever wondered what happened to old rugby boots, the answer is that they were made into sea pie. It consisted of an insipid grey liquid with bits of grey ex-rugby boot floating forlornly in it, covered by a pie crust. The latter was the only edible part, if the smell of the liquid part had not destroyed all vestiges of appetite.
My wife was in the CGS (although I didn't meet her until after I had left) and seems also to have enjoyed the delights of sea pie. Whenever we want to be particularly rude about food we compare it either with WyCol sea pie, or with Schlachtplatte, which is an equally disgusting German dish (as you can almost tell from its name, even if you don't know any German)!
Marmalade With Everything
Does anyone else still enjoy sausage & marmalade, or bacon & marmalade sandwiches? Also we used to make toast on the iron. It always tasted of pressing cloth!
It's sausage and marmalade sandwiches that do it for me! Actually, top of the list is tinned grapefruit.
Bacon and marmalade sandwiches - that was where it all started. What I would give now for the smell of that slightly burnt bacon and the tangy marmalade. Hold on … I feel a meal coming on ... see ya!
I still have a thing for fish fingers and marmalade. Warm rolls at breakfast are still one of my happiest school memories, except when the gumbies forgot to add salt!
I remember eating bacon & marmalade sandwiches, but we didn't toast bread on the iron, we dried bread on the radiators and sold it to the juniors after lights out. We "borrowed" the bread from the kitchen, either at breakfast or dinner and they took months to catch on to the point that we had no toaster!
I can still almost remember the translation of the French version of the HP sauce bottle having faced it for so long. Everyone ate the Branston Pickle but the Pan Yan jar stayed forever full! I remember taking turns at cutting the butter into 10.
Ah yes, wasn't it something like 'Cette sauce de haute est un melange de .....?' The guy who did the original drawing of the Houses of Parliament for the bottle was the father of a girlfriend of mine (1966 - Mombasa). In the absence of anything else, we all read the cereal packets, and there was a real scrum when the tops related to some kind of freebie. Puffed Wheat vouchers for 10-pin bowling were popular in '64, as the first alley had just opened in Norwich.
HP Sauce - I still quote this to the children sometimes to annoy. I think the first of several sentences was "Cette sauce de haute qualite est une melange des fruits orientaux, d'epices et de vinaigre de malte." And I'm sure it banged on a bit after that!
During the second year in New, I was "volunteered" to make up the numbers on the girls' diet table. After the initial humiliation, I loved being on this table - I was the only male, the only person below fourth year, and the only skinny person, and consequently I got enormous portions of chips and other delicious but fattening stuff. We were next to the staff table, so the other table's Upper Sixth's threats of violence unless I gave up my extra chips usually failed.
Just Not Enough
I was unrepresentative in many ways, but particularly with respect to school meals. I liked just about everything. My only grouse was that there was rarely enough to satisfy my appetite ... especially if I a shared a table with other
On the first day of a new term, when everybody else was checking out the accommodation details, I was checking out the meal-time seating arrangements! I well remember the term when I found myself on the same table as Horrocks (a bulky ginger haired lad a year below me who turned out to be quite good at cricket - one of the few to score a century in a school match) and Ian Ray (of 400yds low hurdles fame). I had visions of protruding bones that I would surely have by the end of the term! Although we were a "9" table, Ian Ray would always cut the day's offering into ten portions. After serving "8" portions he would observe, with well practised surprise, that there were two portions remaining. No prizes for guessing who got the extra portion!
Horrocks, clearly not au fait with the rules regarding 'splitting,' took the issue further. He went to see the Housemaster, Mr. Thornley. "My parents pay the same as Ray's and so we should get equal portions at meal times." Whilst I feigned indignation for his non-observance of the unwritten rule, I was glad to get slightly larger portions from then on.
One of the worst punishments I remember was being "Off-Extras." For others, the worst punishment was being "On-Extras;" in this case the punishee had to finish off all the food declined by everybody else!
Of the meals I loved, and have subsequently attempted to recreate, Russian Fish pie (successfully ... but my family hated it), Bean Cobbler (originally made with corned beef before the great corned beef famine, due to a problem with Argentine canning practices) and Eggy Bread.
I remember, gut-retchingly, doing less well in a junior cross country race than had been expected. This was largely due to chocolate and mint blancmange being on the lunchtime menu. I had several portions! No further explanation on my loss of form is offered.
The End of the Food Chain
I was just reading the Food, (in)Glorious Food department, and it brought back memories of my first year in Durham House in 1969-70 and how permanently hungry I was. I would sometimes even just taste the salt from the shakers when setting the table prior to meals, I was so desperate.
Being the 'heeb' of the table, it was my job to fetch and carry the food and clear away the dirty plates etc, but it was also my place to get last crack of the whip when it came to the servings. The head of the table, an upper 6th former, would divide up the main dish into portions according to his idea of who deserved what, and the sundries (lumpy mashed potatoes, baked beans etc.) would be passed around from top to bottom. When it got to me, needless to say there was virtually nothing left worth speaking about. Sometimes we would get chips as a really special treat; however it would almost reduce me to tears to see the large amount the upper 6th former took, followed by gradually lesser amounts down the table until the bowl got to me, containing only a few scraggy crispy scraps. I supplemented my food intake by buying rations from the tuckshop, however even this was risky because of the ever present threat of predatory 4th formers homing in on the so-called food (consisting mainly of chocolate chewing nuts, sherbert dips, bon-bons etc).
The kitchen hatch was manned by a very rotund lady with a broad Norfolk accent called Ruby, who everyone was terrified of, but, in the cruel manner of all kids who think they can get away with it, was teased and tormented mercilessly, especially when she retaliated with her trade mark threat of "Oi'll MARK yew!!" After a while I discovered that, if spoken to nicely and politely, she was actually a very kind and pleasant lady and not at all the ogre everyone thought, and she used to save some extras for me for after the meal, for which I was very grateful. On a couple of occasions she even gave me a few of the staff chocolate biscuits, which were as valuable to me as gold. Most of the second and third years thought I was just a nerd for being nice to her, but she used to wink conspiratorially when no-one was looking, and it was our secret.
The next year we moved to New Hall and its mixed dining tables, and things improved a lot. Senior girls were much fairer, and all girls thought nothing of complaining to the staff if anyone was discriminated against, which previously in the all-boys house would have been social (and probably actual) suicide. And then, joy of joys, I ended up on the girls' diet table (as previously mentioned). I was the joke of the house, until everyone cottoned on how much 'extras' I was getting. I still remember all my overweight girl chums fondly. The entire early years dining-related experiences actually taught me a lot about the value of people who aren't the best looking, slimmest, most popular, best at games etc., and how much more such people are sometimes worth than those that are.
Don't Copy Your Elders
I was in the 1st form at tea one day in the MDH when Barnes (a 4th former) said "Atkins! Pass the bleedin' jam." It was strawberry or raspberry and of course I did as I was told, but mistakenly believed that 'bleeding' was cool slang related to the fact that the jam was red. I repeated it innocently at a family tea during the holidays .... "Pass the bleeding jam please Mum" .... and got a swift clip round the ear for my sins!
Bill (Herb) Atkins
Do you remember Dinner Tickets? Every Monday, boarders were issued with them and day pupils had to buy them. I think that was the sole purpose of Monday morning House tutor groups! Then they had to be handed to the head of table at lunchtime. I never understood why boarders had them as well.
I think we only had them after the kitchens had been redone, and we started having dinner by a kind of self-service system. We still had to sit at specific tables I think, but there had to be some way of making sure growing children didn't get too much food.
Some people kept left over tickets as mementoes of the delightful food, including "Bearded Place, chips and peas". No, that is not a typo, well, not today. It was once, which gave us a laugh at the time!
All I remember about the "dinner tickets" was when the amalgamation with the CGS started, it was just the first formers that ate in the Houses. I remember as duty prefect having to collect them and put them in an envelope with date and House on them. I never remember having to use them as a boarder!
I remember the dinner tickets, getting handed them on a Monday and having to stand in a queue which went through the common rooms on the south side of Fry and ended up in the courtyard. As a first year you tended to stay in the courtyard for quite a long time as everybody else pushed in front (their mate had always saved a place in the queue). After a while this was changed so there were 1st & 2nd sittings, which made things a bit easier.
What was the colour of the dinner tickets? I recall that they were sometimes orange and sometimes a sort of reddish colour, but I may be completely wrong. Or colour blind. And did the difference in colour have any significance at all?
Iain (Sid) Sidey
I remember them being a pinky/red colour. And IIRC they were ALWAYS getting lost.
Yes, they were red or orange. I remember both those colours, but I seem to recall that the ticket system (for boarders at least) didn't last very long (but I only started in 76, so what the b* h* do I know). I can't remember what happened after that.
In My Time ....
The food was disgusting, overall, and not even nutritious by contemporary standards. I remember being hungry a lot of the time even though I managed to get quite chubby. We girls were convinced the boys Houses got bigger portions than we did.
The custard used to be one of the most horrible things, invariably lumpy and with big bits of skin floating in it. I still have a horror of lumpy custard.
Spam fritters were something to look forward to, a slice of fat and cereal, encased in fat and fried in fat - served with tinned spaghetti; it is something that Delia Smith has unaccountably omitted from her repertoire.
Brown Windsor soup, often served for Saturday tea with dry toast, set us up for the movies or the dance.
Watery scrambled eggs, tinned tomatoes served whole, bubble and squeak.
Piles of white bread - often soggy with hard crusts so it meant it was once stale but had been "freshened."
The better dishes have been mentioned already - Bean Cobbler, Russian Fish Pie. There was also some kind of suet roly-poly with mince in which was quite nice (compared to Brown Windsor soup).
I still buy Branston Pickle and HP sauce!
Lots of things had pastry as a major component - Sea Pie (mentioned by Francis Wright), Manchester tart, Bakewell tart, Treacle tart, Jam tart.
There were these unbreakable glasses we had that had stamped on the bottom Duralex - Made in France and I recently saw one in a junk shop. The tables sat 8 comfortably but as the house was crowded often 9-10 had to be accommodated. It was very stressful being in charge of a table as you had to cut everything into equal portions and all those eyes were on you (try 10 equal portions of a block of cheese). The tables were mixed in age and it was hard on the First and Second formers who were not really allowed to contribute to the conversation or to have any seconds.
The Matron, Housemistress and the 2 junior staff in the first floor flats ate breakfast and lunch with us. We unmercifully dissected their eating habits, dress, hair and mood and developed lip reading skills to see what they were talking about. They were spared eating dinner with us which they had delivered on trays to their flats. At lunch time they were expected to join one of the tables, swapping for the head of table who then had to sit with the housemistress and make polite conversation. It was a lottery who got picked and we used to stand there waiting in dread for a member of staff to play musical chairs with you.
We used to periodically try to break in to the kitchen after hours. If you jiggled the roller hatch in the right way you could sometimes get in. Almost always the cupboard was disappointingly bare; all the food having moved to the main kitchen. Once or twice we scored some bread, mouse trap cheese and margarine. We tried various means of toasting the bread, radiator, iron, until we got a toaster in the Sixth Form common room.
Being on tuck shop duty was excellent as you could smuggle (steal) a few goodies out in the waistband of skirts or down blouses. There was also a Fruit man who came in the late afternoons in a van who sold over priced fruit and things like chocolate sultanas and peanuts. We also got some extra food sent in, posted in our laundry bags by complicit parents, although mine had read the Rules and hardly ever sent anything. One favourite was chocolate Swiss Roll which we got on the exeats to Wymondham and Attleborough. For a while we had a mini competition to see how much we could get in our mouths at one time. I just about dislocated my jaw winning this.
There were these Sixth Form Socials where we invited the sixth form from a male house over on Sunday nights (or were ourselves invited) for cultural conversation and dissection of current affairs. We served heaps of black instant coffee at these, Ritz crackers and McVities chocolate digestives. It was really an excuse for turning off the lights and getting cosy and playing music fairly loudly. There were always heated arguments about which House to invite - a lot depended on who was "going" with whom.
Perhaps it was because I lived on RAF camps my whole life prior to W.C. but I remember:
The food as being generally very good compared to previous schools.
Being hungry enough to eat tinned K rations found in a hut (if I remember correctly) by the chemistry lab.
Suddenly getting very religious when I found out that if you went off to communion very early Sunday morning the kitchen staff always kept back a very generous portion for those who had missed breakfast ( because of communion). They never knew how many how many had gone and I remember getting several portions (admittedly the eggs were pretty solid - hurray for HP) which made it all worth while.
David 'Eddie' Edwards (1957-62)
When I was in the sixth form I ran a private "tuck shop" in Norwich house, usual fare; crisps, Mars, Topics, etc. all sold at normal prices. This had two benefits 1) it supplemented my allowance and 2) went some way to stop the racketeering that went on i.e. those on exeat or on trips buying tuck bringing it back and selling/auctioning it off at 2, 3 or 4 times the normal price. A wholesaler from Norwich used to deliver to me by lorry once a week. Although there was no official sanctioning of this, the operation was never challenged.