One of the highlights of unpacking our new collection has been the discovery of these beautifully designed menus which complement our internationally important food and drink collections.
This menu was printed by the Parisian company Lemercier and produced with ready-made spaces for the shipping company to fill in the dishes of the day. This particular menu was completed for the 1st Class passengers aboard the mail boat “Yarra” for 29th April 1890.
This Norddeutscher Lloyd breakfast menu offers quite a feast. The dishes offered include Saratoga Chips – a nineteenth-century crisp. This menu, written in German and English, was eaten and hopefully enjoyed aboard the steamer “Jahn” on 17th July 1899.
In the twentieth-century the Union-Castle Line produced beautiful menus to reflect their destinations including series depicting South African flowers and animals. The collection also offers a variety of menus depicting birds such as the waxwing and the kingfisher.
Union-Castle employed artist Will Owen (1869-1957), of Bisto Kids fame, to design a series of menus for their tourist-class, fancy-dress dinners. These portrayed literary characters from Shakespeare and Dickens; those below depict Falstaff, Dolly Varden and Sam Weller.
We have four volunteers and Guildhall Library staff working on listing, cataloguing and conserving the Newall Dunn Collection to enable us to make it accessible to library users. In the meantime, you can get a preview of just some of the collection by visiting our exhibition “Merchant Navy Treasures” which continues until 24th May. This offers displays on Union-Castle, Orient and Cunard Lines but the wider collection covers international cargo and passenger ships as well as smaller vessels such as tugs and fishing boats.
The Newall Dunn Collection was built by shipping historian Peter Newall and was gifted to Guildhall Library in 2018.
Jeanie Smith, Assistant Librarian.