Letter: Class on a plate

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The Independent Online
Sir: Is the midday meal lunch or dinner (Letters, 14 and 19 October)? Surely the answer is a matter of class.

I was born and brought up in east London before and during the Second World War. At West Ham Secondary School, at midday, we had dinner. Our fourpence 'dinner money' was collected for a meal served by 'dinner ladies'. When a new and obviously middle-class form master asked 'who collects the lunch money?', he was greeted with laughter. Lunch was taken at 10.30am, and was a third of a pint of milk drunk from the bottle with a real straw. Some of the better-off children brought lunch with them, a biscuit or sandwich to take with their milk.

When we went home, we had tea at 5pm, although my father came home at 6pm to sit down to a cooked meal, which was his dinner. That was because he only had sandwiches at midday. If we were lucky, we might have cocoa before we went to bed. That was supper.

It was not until I was in business that I was invited out to 'lunch' at midday and to grand evening meals which were 'dinners'.

Yours sincerely,


Waltham Abbey, Essex