St John's Top 5: Kitchen reconstruction 1868-1893

The Archive collection contains the drawings and plans for the late 19th century reconstruction of the kitchen and its offices. The architect selected for the job was Henry C. Boyes of London. Boyes submitted is plan to the College in 1891. SF Halliday of Stamford submitted the lowest tender of £1,900 for the work but for various reasons the project was delayed until 1893 by which time Halliday's fee had increased to £2,920.

Whiteleys of Bayswater was hired to provide meals whilst the internal renovations were underway. A temporary hut was set up in First Court, at a cost of £150. The temporary 'kitchen' was erected in June 1893 and removed on 24 October 1893.

Clement Jeakes of Bloomsbury supplied the new kitchen equipment at a cost 'not to exceed £550'.

Information on the location of cooking equipment in kitchen is thin.  Disused flues discovered during the 1957 renovations indicated that the ovens were on the south-east and south-west walls of the kitchen.

In 1924 the kitchens were deemed insanitary and the cooking equipment obsolete. Experts were consulted and the kitchens were found to be wasteful and 'discouraging to cooks'

Boyes' plans included accommodation on the ground floor for the kitchen manager, a scullery and rooms for porters, cooks and waiters on the first floor.

The building included a meter room, College coal, lavatories, ash pit, vegetable store, boiler house, scullery, manager's room, glass room, cold air chamber, poultry larder, wine bottling, bottle washing, laundry and WC

It was during the alterations to the kitchen that Room F2, once occupied by William Wordsworth and made into a storeroom in 1876, was absorbed into the kitchen. Wordsworth's room was reclaimed in 1951.