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Charity Fund visit to St John’s College Cambridge – March 2019

On a blustery Saturday, the Glass Sellers’ were met in St. John’s College Porters Lodge by our Abbott Scholar, Zak Lakota-Baldwin.  Zak, who is studying Natural Sciences, is now nearing the end of his second year at Cambridge with exams looming.

Zak escorted our merry band to the Wordsworth Room, previously home to undergraduate William Wordsworth from 1787 to 1791.

Whilst having a glass of wine and discussing poetry, the question was raised as to the years of Wordsworth’s life.  Quick as a flash our Archivist, Edgar Mobbs, said 1770 – 1850.   Edgar drew our attention to the fine stained glass in the windows containing the dates and extracts from his famous poem The Prelude.

A fine dining table was laid in this very pleasant room and we were welcomed by Bill Brogan, Catering and Conference Manager,  and friend of Paul Wenham our new Clerk.

We were welcomed with a glass of Saint Louis de Provence Rose AOC 2016

For lunch we had Hot Gressingham Duck with hand-dived Scallops, pickled cucumber, ginger, roasted soya beans and rocket lettuce. Followed by Roast Leg of Suffolk Lamb cooked in Milk, roasted with rosemary, garlic, sea salt and served with a redcurrant jelly and lamb jus. Fondant potatoes with herbs, Roast parsnips with honey and Stokes grain mustard, Buttered spinach with nutmeg. Next a College signature dish of Water pudding with Japanese salted ice cream, seasonal berries and a honey tuile biscuit.  All accompanied by Zensa Fiano Salento IGP Organic 2017, Puglia, Italy and Yerevan Areni/ Karmrachyut 2016, Armenia.

Bill took us to the Combination Room, Old Divinity School where the Fellows dine, lit solely by candles and firelight.  The annual candle bill is approximately £10K with 58 candles burnt every evening.  Then into the Silver safe, to view the fine collection of silver collected over many years, including two trays valued at over £1M each.

Onto the Great Hall where places for 200 diners were being set and the wine cellar – a rare treat.  Outside, through the Third Court, a grassed quadrangle, to view the Bridge of Sighs and the May Ball lawn.  Bill is currently preparing the schedule for providing 25,000 meals for those who attend the Ball.

Back to the Wordsworth Room for tea, coffee and chocolate truffles. Our gathering separated to wend their way home to varied destinations – some by car others to the station. A few had planned a visit to a hostelry adjacent to the Railway Station to watch the 6 Nations Rugby before heading for the train to London. The group concurred an excellent day which had offered several unique opportunities.

Report by Master’s Assistant Barbara Beadman

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