AS Mayor John Lindley’s term in office comes to an end, Salisbury will welcome new mayor Michael Osment in the traditional way which includes a banquet at the Guildhall.

The mayors of Salisbury years ago used to give their banquets at the end of their terms in office and this is apparent from an old menu card that was found during the demolition of a row of houses in Endless Street many moons ago.

The mayor concerned was Mr John Keynes, a liberal who took an active personal interest in the formation of the Salisbury British School and was generous in both time and money as superintendent of the local nonconformist chapel Sunday school.

Keynes was in office during the municipal year 1876-77, and his banquet was on Thursday, October 25, 1877.

The meal was not in the Guildhall but at the Three Swans Hotel, which was situated near the junction of Endless Street and Winchester Street – and what a meal it was. There was a choice of soups to begin, followed by a choice from three fish dishes, turbot, cod, or fried filet of sole.

The entrées were sweetbreads with mushroom and mutton cutlets followed by boiled or roast turkey, tongues of beef, ham, saddle of mutton, roast beef and haunches of venison.

Not a bad meal so far, but there was more to come.

The roasts included pheasants and partridges, and there were eight choices in the entremets, including jellies of all sorts, apple tart and pastries, cakes covered with hot syrup and nesselrode – a pie made with chestnuts, alcohol, and fruit (named after Russian politician Count Karl Robert von Nesselrode, 1780-1862).

For dessert there were pines, grapes, melons, pears, apples nuts, etc, and the whole was washed down with sherry, hock, champagne, claret and port.

It seems that calories were not a concern in bygone days!