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NAME: Anon

DATE: 10 February 2010


Anyone know how the refectory started and how lunch was bought?  I have attended two years of paying lunch using a swipe card.  Today QE has started a finger printing scheme to pay for lunch?  What do all you OE guys think about it?


NAME: Vic Coughtrey  Vic CoughtreyThen & Now

DATE: 10 February 2010


Well, it sounds a considerable improvement to me.  When I was there, dinner (it wasn't called lunch in those days) was served at trestle tables in the Assembly Hall.  The kitchens were somewhere behind the stage, as I remember.  After dinner, boys had to put the tables away and set out the chairs ready for Assembly the next morning, then put the chairs away and get the tables out ... and so on.

There was no choice of food at all - you ate what you were given, or had nothing, and what you were given was generally vile (but possibly healthier than some of the things you're allowed to choose today).  Parents paid for the whole term in advance, so you were wasting your parents' money if you left any food.  Jewish boys were allowed to bring sandwiches, as school food was obviously not Kosher.  Although not Jewish, I was also allowed to bring sandwiches, on the insistence of my parents, as I couldn't stomach the school dinners.  Sandwich eaters had to go in the gallery.  We were sometimes subjected to lectures from the Headmaster on our disgusting refusal to accept the "wholesome food the Good Lord provides"  I could never understand how come my sandwiches hadn't also been provided by the Good Lord.

The refectory was under construction when I left in 1959.  I worked at the school for a while in the '90s (you'll never guess what as) and was astounded to see Coke machines, etc.


NAME: Martyn Day  Martyn DayThen & Now

DATE: 13 February 2010

CONNECTION WITH QE: Inmate 1956-63

I am a contemporary of Vic's and my memories of lunch in the School Hall match his.  With hindsight the food was awful - bruised potatoes, over boiled cabbage, 'rat-trap' cheese and spam fritters, but for those of us who had grown up with rationing and austerity it wasn't much different from what many of us had at home.  The Hall always stank of food.  I remember the move to the 'refectory'. We often sat with 'Bop' Wakelin, our new history master.  He had been given the hip nickname 'Bop' because on our first lesson with him he wrote in huge letters across the blackboard what he considered to be the prime driver of history - Balance Of Power! (Work it out for yourself!).  Bop was a strict vegetarian, probably the first one that most of us had met, although I do remember that his open toed sandals were made of leather.  He ate slabs of anaemic cheese, thick enough to sole a pair of boots.  As a special treat he often had a blob of Branston on the side, which many of us considered to be very avant-garde.


NAME: Anon

DATE: 01 August 2010

CONNECTION WITH QE: Current pupil (Year 10)

Not nice to hear that you guys had to suffer from horrible school lunches.  As of today, a new refectory is being built, as shown in the current Q.E newsletter, it looks much bigger than the old hall and the old refectory.  We have a variety of food available too us in two different ways!  We have a tuck shop outside in the near hall, which I presume was the location of your old swimming pool.  The tuck shop opens and closes at a very limited amount of time allowing very few people to get lunch.  The refectory is an average size, however the queue is always long, takes around 20 minutes for everyone to get inside!  As for lunch, we have the main event consisting of two different courses, one veg and one non veg.  Then we have two different types of pasta, one veg and one non veg. Then we have two different types of pizza, you guessed it, one veg and one non veg.  We also have potatoes with baked beans as another course. We also have some cold lunches available.  Teachers always have been pushing into the cashout queue, so frustrating when your about to pay!  :(
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