Menu for a banquet at the Guildhall Menu for a banquet at the Guildhall Show image info

Menu for a banquet at the Guildhall

Edible England activities

Edible England

This year's theme for the Heritage Open Days (10-19 September 2021) is Edible England. So we have gathered some activities to help keep you entertained and hopefully find out something new.

Escaping the Guildhall : An escape room challenge on a grand scale, this time you have to esape the building.

Kitchen Things : Mystery objects from the Kitchen Drawer for you to identify. Can you guess them all?

Design a Menu : The Banqueting Room in the Guildhall has been used for grand feasts for centuries. Create your own menu.


Escaping the Guildhall

You are a visiting Conservator and have accidentally been locked into the Guildhall. You have to answer some history, puzzle and obsesrvation questions to help you find the Front Door Key to get out. Hope to see you soon!

Escaping the Guildhall


Kitchen Things

You know if you go to the back of the kitchen drawer, you can find some strange things lurking? Unused gadgets that no-one can remember what they're for or how to use them? Or maybe just something so odd-looking that it's hard to guess, even if you do still find it the most useful object in the kitchen?

Can you identify these?





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7 8 9

 How did you get on with them? The answers are here


Design a Menu

When the Guildhall was built in 1778 the Banqueting Room was designed for large functions to be held by the Corporation. The Georgians held Assemblies and Balls in the room (Jane Austen attended them), using the neighbouring Council Chamber for refreshments. By the end of the nineteenth century, the Victorians had perfected the art of grand banquets which could run to 8 or 9 courses. The courses often had fancy names - such as hors d'ouvres, entrées, entrements, or relevées - or were just called the soup course. The dishes could also have fancy French names, or were sometimes named after someone famous - such as a Pavlova or the Nesselrode Pudding that appears on many menus of the era.

To go with the fancy course and fancy dishes, the menus were also very decorative souvenirs of the occasion. Usually on card, although we have one on parchment and one on metal, it could be a single sheet or be over two pages so the wines, speeches and toasts could also be listed. Some are very colourful and expensive, whilst others are very simple.

Here are a couple of examples from our collections with some ideas for you to design your own below.

The cover of this menu looks like a wing-tip collar on a formal shirt. Appropriate for a Royal Luncheon.
Lots of colour was used on the cover of this menu, though the inside was more restrained. They had lots of courses and a long list of toasts and speeches.


Design your own menu. We have created some templates below from menus in our collections, so you can invent your own Victorian banquet.

Or you could design your own...

  • A banquet for a special occasion - such as a wedding or a birthday. It can be as simple or elaborate as you wish. And you can have whatever you like on the menu. Fish fingers and Custard? No problem.
  • Does it have a theme? Such as a Superheroes Banquet with dishes named after your favourite heroes, e.g. a Batman Bombe - layers of ice cream covered with dark chocolate with a surprise inside. You can just come up with a cool name, you don't need to know what's inside.
  • How many courses? Victorian banquets had nibbles to start (Hors D'Ouvres), then soup or pate, then fish, then a meat dish, then roast meat or game, then a sweet dessert, then ice cream, then cheese and/or fruit. And each course could have a different wine served, depending on what you were eating.

Let us see your results on social media - tag us on @bathnesbro on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #MyBanquet.

Menu 1 Menu 2 Menu 3 Menu 4 Menu 5 Menu 6