The Wolverton County Secondary School minutes record that about 50 pupils stayed at school over the lunch period. When it was wet or cold, the girls were allowed to eat in the hall but there was no provision for the boys until it was decided that they might be allowed to eat their midday meals together. Hot milk was provided in school for pupils.
Although records show that the Headmaster was keen to instigate hot meals at lunchtime as early as 1915, he could not do this without being sure that enough parents would support it. It was not until 1932 that hot meals were provided at a cost of 3/9 per week (about 18p) with about 40 pupils and most staff taking advantage of this opportunity. There was no choice of meal. These meals were cooked in the school canteen on the newly installed electric cooker. Phyllis Light remembers a Mrs East cooking the meals and also small bottles of milk for every pupil daily. Miss Button remembers that the works hooter sounded at 1.30 and this was also used by the school.
During this time lunch was cooked and served in the canteen, Pupils purchased dinner tickets which they exchanged for a two course meal. Some pupils brought a packed lunch and others who lived within walking distance went home to lunch.
Sylvia Saunders remembers travelling home at lunch time even though she lived at Stony Stratford. She travelled on the works bus had her cooked lunch with her family and then travelled back to Wolverton on the works bus, all in her lunch time a great feat by todays standards!
When the school was in transition from grammar to Radcliffe Bi-lateral school both Janet Cook and Jacqueline Tite remember walking to the Science and Arts Institute in Church Street (which stood where the agora car park now stands) for a cooked lunch. Janet remembers in particular the shortbread and pink blancmange and the salads . The food is remembered as being very good Free milk was still available at this time.
Pupils who came from Wolverton generally went home for their lunch with the others eating in the canteen. In winter hot chocolate was provided to those pupils who had a long journey home.
When the school became a middle school a canteen was available where hot meals were cooked and then eaten. Children were also allowed to bring their own lunch and eat in the canteen. A team of dinner ladies used to prepare and then serve the meals to the children from a hatch . Children went into the hall in staggered year groups with the youngest ones going in first. Members of staff used to sit with the children to have their meals. One child on the table was appointed as server to pour out the water for drinking. If you were lucky, you got seconds.
Marsha Gaynor remembers the steak and kidney pudding and vegetables and the baked beans and chips . Every day was a different menu and you could choose the meal you wanted from a different selection - an all time favourite was BBM (bangers beans and mash).
Things had changed by the early 90's with hot meals no longer being available. Louise Gaynor remembers that all children had a packed lunch. Hers consisted of sandwiches, crisps and a chocolate 'club' bar and in the winter months maybe a hot soup brought from home. Both Marsha and Louise remember the dining hall as being a damp, cold and smelly place not very inviting at all. The dining hall was eventually demolished in the late nineties.
The new hall then became the place to eat lunch with children bringing their own lunches to school with those from families in receipt of benefits entitled to a free lunch provided by the local education authority . This lunch was not very appetising and had the stigma of singling out less affluent children from the others. For these reasons, many children entitled to free dinners did not take them up.
In 2000 hot school dinners are again provided for pupils with about 100 children eating them in the school hall every day in two sittings. Tables are erected each day by the lunchtime supervisors. Children entitled to free meals are not singled out and others pay £1.44 per meal. Children take home a menu on Friday night and bring back on Monday with their money. The lunches are pre-cooked, delivered and served by Synergy. There is a choice of vegetarian or meat dishes as well as a salad option. The Christmas menu was as follows - Roast Turkey served with roast potatoes , carrots , peas and sprouts , with the vegetarian option being broccoli and cheese bake. Dessert was traditional Christmas pudding served with custard or ice cream reindeers were for dessert.
Some children chose to bring packed lunches where typical contents are a carton of juice (35p), a packet of crisps (20p), a sandwich (perhaps with cheese, jam, ham or Marmite) and a chocolate bar (25p). Some children bring salad and fruit in their lunches. many Asian children bring home made samosa in their lunch boxes.