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Tortoise, reindeer tongue and mince pies were displayed in a 1790 “Fare Bill” at Charles Dickens Pub.


Great Christmas dinner predictions! 47-pound turtle, reindeer tongue, 470 mince pie… 1,790 festive lunch “fare bill” from Charles Dickens’ famous pub sells for £2,400 at auction

  • Huge bills list over 100 exotic dishes on display at Bristol’s “Bush Tavern”
  • Dickens used the pub as a setting for the Pickwick Papers after his visit in 1835
  • Menus from 1790 and 1800 contain dishes such as turtles, eels, and reindeer tongues










An 18th-century “fare bill” featuring a Christmas lunch menu in one of the pubs mentioned in Charles Dickens’ novel, The Pickwick Papers, was sold for £2,400.

The couple of huge bills list more than 100 exotic dishes that were issued by the owner of “Bush Tavern” in Bristol in the 1790s and 1800s.

The pioneer training inn was made famous by the writer Dickens who used it as the setting for his first novel after visiting in 1835.

Menus include dishes such as turtle, eel, reindeer tongue, pig’s feet and veal head.

sold

An 18th-century “fare bill” featuring a Christmas lunch menu in one of the pubs mentioned in Charles Dickens’ novel, The Pickwick Papers, was sold for £2,400. The huge pair of bills lists more than 100 exotic dishes that were issued by the owner of the “Bush Tavern” in Bristol in the 1790s and 1800s.

It went on sale on 15 December at Dominic Winter Auctioneers, in Cirencester, Gloucestershire and was expected to fetch between £500 – £800 – but went for £2,400.

The list contains the old “long letters”, which look like the lowercase letter F and were then very popular.

The 1790 fare bill includes roast pig, reindeer, and a 47-pound tortoise, while the 1800’s list includes a 120-pound tortoise.

Several birds have been listed including cuckoos, owls, golden plovers, pelicans, larks, sea pheasants (Pentelle ducks) and stars (starlings).

Several items were described in odd quantities, such as 122 snakes, 208 baby birds, 94 wild ducks, and 470 minced pancakes.

It seems that the Turks were abundant in both years as well.

The pioneer training inn was made famous by the writer Dickens who used it as a setting for his famous novel after his visit in 1835

Cover of a newer edition of the Pickwick Papers

The pioneer training inn was made famous by the writer Dickens who used it as a setting for his famous novel (cover shown at right) after visiting in 1835

Several items were described in odd quantities, such as 122 snakes, 208 baby birds, 94 wild ducks, and 470 minced pancakes.  above:

Several items were described in odd quantities, such as 122 snakes, 208 baby birds, 94 wild ducks, and 470 minced pancakes. above:

1800 menu features owls, snakes, oysters, roast pig, 11 rabbits, feet and ears

1800 menu features owls, snakes, oysters, roast pig, 11 rabbits, feet and ears

The pub remained open until the mid-19th century and the building that housed it was later occupied by a branch of Lloyd’s Bank.

The Pickwick Papers were the first Dickens work to gain public acclaim.

Dickens wrote in serial form at age 24, balancing writing this episodic work with his job as a court reporter.

The book was the first British novel to become a publishing phenomenon, with merchandise and theatrical performances appearing after its release.

Published over 20 months in 19 separate issues with illustrations by Robert Seymour.

The building that once housed the pub is now occupied by a Lloyd's Bank branch

The building that once housed the pub is now occupied by a Lloyd’s Bank branch

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