AS WE CLOSE THE FIRST DAY OF THE FESTIVAL, WE’LL CREATE A SPACE TO COME TOGETHER WITH A HOT – OR STIFF – DRINK ON ZOOM, TO REFLECT ON THE DAY’S EVENTS AND THE THEMES EMERGING FROM OUR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATIONS
Cocoa parties were a key part of Newnham’s social life in the early days. Edith Terry (NC 1902) explained the origins of the tradition: ‘When the College was still young a benefactor left a sum of money to provide a lady’s maid for every five young ladies, but most of the young ladies had no idea what to do with such a creature, and the benefaction was changed into half a pint of milk to be drunk at night by each young lady on finishing her studies: hence the custom of giving cocoa-parties, the guests bringing their own milk and the hostess supplying food, often of a very indigestible nature. I can remember eating extravagantly buttered muffins and cream buns between ten and eleven at night.’ As Marjorie Wolstenholme (NC 1904) recalled, the cocoa was made over ‘small open fires’ which unsurprisingly ‘resulted in small accidents at times’!
(quotations from Ann Phillips, ed. A Newnham Anthology)
Image Credit: Alan Davison, Pictorial Press