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Thursday, 8 July 2010

Elbows off the table!!!

I went over to Derby yesterday and met up with the daughter of my former headmaster at Darwin Secondary Modern School. This was a very pleasant follow up from her recognising my recent writing about my schooldays in the Bygones section of the Derby Evening Telegraph. She kindly brought along some old school documents, photos and clippings from the history of the now demolished school and her father's working life as the head.
Darwin Secondary Modern school in the 1960s.

We had a lovely chat talking about the same subjects and people from totally different perspectives and I was delighted to hear that some of the now elderly teachers have been following my articles in the newspaper albeit that the journal has heavily edited my original 21 page document and added in some cheesy headlines. 

I also learnt a lot about the man who was my strict headmaster and how outside the school he was a lovely, caring man who had led an adventourous and  fascinating life and had a genuine passion for the education and moral upbringing of the pupils in his care. When you are a teenager at school in the 1960s you don't have the maturity or hindsight to recognise those qualities.
One of the documents I got shown yesterday was a short 'rules of conduct' guide for the staff at the school during the 1950s and 1960s. The pupils would never had an opportunity to see this kind of strict staff ruling. I was very amused by the advice given regarding table manners to be followed during the school dinner period and have tried to reproduce it here. My intention was to write something amusing myself based on the guide but I think it stands on its own slightly arcane merit. I've not be able to reproduce the original emphatic underlining in this blog editing system.

Table manners at school dinner

The following points are being taught in the Social Training Scheme throughout the school.
It would be appreciated if all members of Staff would do their best to see that they are put into practice every day.

1.Sitting at table
(a) Sit up to table. Feet under.
(b) No elbows on table.
(c) Keep head up when eating.

2. Serving
(a)No fingers on part of plate where food should be.
(b)No messy spots either on table or plates.
Use a spoon or fork to prevent spots dropping from gravy/custard jug.
(c)Arrange food neatly on plate.
(d) Serve food the proper way up without breaking e.g. pastry, pudding.
(e)Use fork to help food from serving spoon.

3. Use of cutlery
(a)Handle of knife and fork inside palm.
(b)Spoon held as pen.
(c)When fork is in left hand, keep prongs facing the plate.
(d)When fork is in right hand it may be turned over and used like a spoon.
(e)Keep fingers off the knife blade.
(f)Put food on fork at plate level, not while fork is up in the air.
(g)When not in use, keep the cutlery near plate, not up in the air.
(h)When finished put cutlery neatly together. (Blade of knife inwards.)

(a) All scraps to be put on one plate.
(b)Put cutlery with handles together.

Each pupil to be served with what he intends to eat.
A “saucy” first plate may mean no pudding.

Request to Staff.
It is most helpful if members of Staff are present for the Grace.


Dean said...

Exactly what we were taught at Friargate House and what i still follow to this day so I suppose it was drilled in rather deep !

Gail's Man said...

So different from today, where like me, people only use a fork. Many people don't even sit at a table now.

I like the idea of having a 'saucy plate'!

The Quizzical Observer said...

Great post - how times have changed.

'A “saucy” first plate may mean no pudding.'

Now that's the story of my life...

Phil Lowe said...

Thanks Dean, Gail's Man and The Quizzical Observer for you comments. The 'saucy' plate reference made me smile as it reminded me of the kind of language used in the Carry On films. "ooooh, saucy!!!."