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Stock shots from the archive: F is for Food

Phil Coomes | 08:50 UK time, Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Canteen meal, 1982

I'm back in the BBC News photo archive (You can read the background to this series in my first post here) and this week, in line with my colleagues in the Magazine section who are running a series on food, I have decided to delve into the "F" drawer.

The Food section is fairly large so I'm concentrating on the pictures simply filed as generic pictures of food, rather than any sub-heading, of which there are 108.

The first picture is an absolute delight and is catalogued as "a tray layed [sic] for lunch", there is no date given but it's probably 1970. A slightly odd collection of food items and I'm still trying to work out what the tomato sauce is for, assuming that's what it is.

Tray laid for lunch

The second picture on file is this simple shot of a bowl of porridge, taken in September 1970. There's not much to say on this one, I like the simplicity of the background but it doesn't look very appetising, and the crockery certainly dates it. Anyone know of any news stories about porridge?

A bowl of porridge

Sandwiches have come a long way since this shot was taken in 1973 by Felix Borg, who used to work in the News Stills Laboratory, processing film and shooting the occasional stock image and portraits of presenters and staff for accreditation.


This is a picture you can see being used, a simple collection of items in a supermarket trolley and the till receipt. If this was a print it would have a transmission date stamped on the reverse, but no record was kept that would allow usage to be tracked back from a colour slide.

Supermarket trolley with receipt

Having sat through more hours than I can remember of the recent series of Masterchef I'd also say that food presentation is not what it used to be. And that's something to be thankful for.

Cold meats

Initially this struck me as just a rather poor picture but the card entry reads as follows: "Examples of food quantities served to Blackburn school children, compared to 1930s workhouse meals, according to MP Jack Straw" and is dated 1981. Searching the internet for further information I found this record that provides some of the detail of the story this picture was shot to illustrate.

Examples of food quantities served to Blackburn school children, compared to 1930s workhouse meals

That's it for this week, you can see previous posts in this series here:


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