St John's College U.40-42

Feast Books of St John's College, 1873-1920 and 1936-81.

Three volumes containing handwritten menus for meals held in College, arranged in chronological order. The menus include breakfasts, dinners, suppers, and feasts, and the courses are given in either French or English. The occasion for each meal is occasionally noted e.g. Fellowship Elections, Dinners to Members of the Foundation, Christmas, St John Ante Port Latin, Choristers' Suppers, and Old Johnian Dinners.

Vol. 1: 335 x 230 mm, 203 fos + blanks. Covers 3 Nov. 1873 to 6 May 1896. Paper. Vellum binding with 'Feast Book' inscribed on cover. Copperplate hand throughout. The first page bears the inscription 'Mr G.W. Parsley' i.e. George William Parsley, who began working in the College kitchens in 1882 and was Head Cook from 1895 to 1919. Occasionally meals provided to waiters and servants are also noted at the end of a day's menu. The number of diners is usually noted together with the cost of each meal. Expenditure is totalled at the end of each quarter from 1873 until 1878, thereafter half yearly until 1880. An 'Abstract for Accounts of the Combination Room Steward for Christmas Exceedings' is given every year from 1880 until 1893.

Manuscript extra information

Vol. 2: 325 x 220 mm, 95 fos + blanks. Covers 4 Feb. 1891 to 7 Nov. 1916, then 6-18 May 1920. Paper. Vellum binding with 'Feast Book' inscribed on cover. Written in several copperplate hands. As well as the usual feasts this volume includes menus for dinners marking the centenary of the Geological Society of London (1 Oct. 1908) and the Four Hundredth Anniversary of St John's College (6 and 8 May, 29 June 1911).

Vol. 3: 335 x 210 mm, 126 fos. Covers 21 Nov. 1936 to 27 Dec. 1981. Paper. Written in various hands. In addition to giving the courses for each meal this volume records the wine, sherry, and port served to accompany them. The number of diners and cost per head for waiters of also given. In addition to the usual feasts this volume includes the menu for a dinner to the Commonwealth Universities (16 July 1953). Expenditure is totalled for each meal from 1965 to 1981.