I didn't like the meals either, but we lived too far away to have any choice in the pre. namby-pamby sandwich days.
Slater never had any trouble clearing his plate - even twice whenever he got the chance! He must've volunteered for dinner duty every day in the Alice Street Annexe just for that dubious pleasure.
It must've been Nev's sauce wot done it!
Yes, you are right Brian. Slater was a trencherman all right. Two helpings for him. Presume that's why the lads you to call his large blonde girlfriend 'Hoss' after Hoss Cartwright in the Ponderosa TV series...
Contributors here must distinguish between dinners before the fire and those after.
My experience was before...when the meals (posh now, notice) were served (dished up) in the Mechanics Hall. The tables stretched from the platform to the rear entrance - with 12 pupils per "table" (one side of a long trestle) facing the kids on another table (the opposite side). The "head" of the table was any"thing" from a prefect to a LVI former and the rest of the table was made up of usually 2 from each year down to the 1st formers. You could say it was institutionalised feudalism as the "big" boys, staff appointed, dished out the grub, starting with small portions for the little boys and bigger ones for the big boys. As the small boys on one table sat opposite the big boys on the opposite table, the discrepancies in the portions were clear to see. Years 1 to Year 4 took it in turns to wait on the table - queueing to collect the main course and veg (and later stodge and custard, for afters) from the dinner ladies behind the trestles across the front of the platform. Teaching staff sat on a table across the platform (like the last supper)with Old Nick and then Joe Watthey holding centre stage. I recall a weeks dinners cost 2 shillings and 1 penny(5d or 2 and 1/2 p per day. The money was collected by Basher Braithwaite who had a rigid system of exaction and a "stunning" wit. A lad called Ball, a successful musician, was summoned by Basher as "singular". Basher's humour was as basic as the dinners.
Being pupils at the time of the fire, made my own year group one of the few who were privileged to "enjoy" meals under both arrangements.
Terry's account of dinners in the Municipal Hall brings it all flooding back very vividly - in my case, Barry Whittingham being the "Head of Table" and myself one of the first form "waiters".(The fire denied several of us our chance of achieving seniority!)I believe the daily cost had risen to one shilling before 1958, but I do seem to have a vague recollection of Albert Braithwaite's role as cash monitor.
The subsequent Alice Street annexe (with the ever-present, ever-hungry Slater) has been reported on several earlier postings.