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PP/39 - [Half Hundred Club]

Reference code
Level of description
[Half Hundred Club]
Quantity & Format
3 files Mixed
Half-Hundred Club
Dinners and dining History.
Scope and content
Papers relating to the organisation, membership, activities, and finances of the Half Hundred Club. The club's object was "to combine good dining with economy." Meetings were usually held at Lawn Road Flats but the club was separate from the Isobar Club.

The Half Hundred Club was founded in 1937 as a poor man's food and wine society. The club had 25 members each of whom could bring one guest, hence the half hundred. Members took turns to direct a dinner: this could involve simply planning the menu and having someone else cook it, or it could entail buying the food and wine, cooking the meal and serving. A 'blurb' had to be produced by the director and sent out to members in advance of the dinner. The 'blurb' could take the form of a simple menu, a statement of what the director hoped to achieve with the meal, or an explanation of the menu. Each director worked within a strict budget. As each member and guest was expected to pay a total of only 10 shillings for a meal (2/6 for food, 5/- for wine, and 2/6 for service) any director who exceeded the budget had to find the excess from his or her own pocket. All members, except the founding members, had to be proposed and seconded by existing members and elected unanimously. Prospective members had to declare that they were "seriously and intelligently interested in food and drink [and possessed] no religious or other taboos or unsociable characteristics which may impede conversation." A 2/- impoliteness fee was levied on any member who failed to notify the club of their inability to attend a dinner. Most of the dinners were cooked and held in the Pritchards' flat at Lawn Road, although later, when the Isobar opened, its kitchens were used for the cooking of meals. On occasion the club did go further atield to hold their dinners: meals took place at a Chinese restaurant, a cinema, and London Zoo.

Members and guests of the Half Hundred Club included Raymond Postgate, Julian Huxley, Waiter Gropius, Marcel Breuer, Ernst Freud. Francis Meynell, and Philip Harben. The club ceased its activities in 1940 although there was a brief revival after World War II.
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