[ St Mary's Hospital, Paddington. ] Detailed manuscript 'weekly account of the receipt and consumption of provisions', giving a detailed daily breakdown of food and drink consumed over a five-year period, in substantial ledger printed for the purpose
A substantial and heavy leather-bound volume, 49 x 37 x 7 cm, by the London stationers Waterlow & Sons, containing in excess of 250 double-page weekly entries, meticulously and neatly completed in manuscript, giving a daily itemised breakdown of the consumption of a wide range of provisions. A valuable social document, casting light on Victorian hospital administration and dietary habits. Internally in good condition, on lightly-aged paper, in heavily-worn brown blind-stamped leather binding with damaged spine, with marbled endpapers and edges. The double-page spreads are printed in black with red rules, with more than thirty columns listing the consumption by patients of such surprising items as 'Gluten Bread', 'Aërated Water' and 'Ch[a]mp[a]gn[e]'. The 'Number of Persons Victualled' per day is also noted, and in addition to the columns, there are rows noting: the 'Cost of above, as per Bills' 'Remaining in Store at end of last week', 'Received since', 'Total to be accounted for', 'Consumption during current week, as above' and 'Remaining in Store'. One thousand one hundred and forty-five 'New Laid' eggs, fourteen ounces of whisky and two ounces of champagne are consumed in the first week alone. The 'Daily cost per Head' is noted for each week,and is never much more than a shilling and a penny. The following is a list of the provisions itemised in the columns. Under the heading 'Meat': 'Chops', 'For Beef Tea', 'For Beef Tea and Beef Jelly', 'Other'; under the heading 'Fish': 'Soles', 'Oysters', 'Other'; under the heading 'Poultry': 'Fowls, &c.', 'Rabbits'; then 'Ice'; then, under the heading 'Bread, Flour, &c.: 'Bread', 'Flour', 'Oatmeal', 'Cake, &c.'; then 'Gluten Bread'; then under the heading 'Vegetables and Fruit': 'Potatoes', 'Other Vegetables', 'Fruit'; under the heading 'Milk and Cream': 'Milk', 'Cream'; then 'Butter'; then under the heading 'Cheesemongery': 'Cheese', 'Eggs' (both 'Fresh' and 'New Laid'), 'Ham and Bacon', 'Lard', 'Sausages'; then under the heading 'Grocery': 'Cocoa', 'Coffee', 'Dried Fruits', 'Rice, Barley, Arrowroot, &c.', 'Sugar', 'Tinned Meat'; then 'Tea', 'Jams, Pickles, &c.', 'Prepared Foods', 'Aërated Waters', and finally, under the heading 'Alcohol', first, under the sub-heading 'Wines and Spirits': 'Port', 'Sherry', 'Chmpgn', 'Brandy', 'Whsky', 'Gin', 'Rum', and nect under the heading 'Beer': 'Ale', 'Stout'; and finally 'Bottled Ale and Stout'.