School Dinners Through Time

Andrew Lynch

The topic of school dinners has been a hotly debated subject in recent times, ever since Jamie Oliver brought the idea of less processed meals to our television screens in the early 2000s – fighting those now infamous (and banned) turkey twizzlers, rectangle pizzas and mountains of chips. Although many parents fought the changes, it’s undeniable that Jamie’s efforts changed school dinners forever.

To see just how much school dinners have changed, we embarked on researching and recreating some of the most popular meals from each decade to see just how much they’ve changed.

Below you’ll find our photos and a summary of what each decade favoured.

See School Dinners by Decade

1940
1950
1960
1970
1980
1990
2000
2010

Main meal

  • Spam fritters
  • Peas
  • Potatoes (often mashed)

Dessert

  • Rice pudding
References

https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ww2peopleswar/stories/38/a3704438.shtml

Main meal

  • Minced beef
  • Peas
  • Potatoes (sometimes boiled or mashed)

Dessert

  • Jam roly poly
References

https://www.1900s.org.uk/1950s-copthall-dinners.htm

http://www.educationengland.org.uk/articles/22food.html

Main meal

  • Hotpot
  • Swede

Dessert

  • Wells pudding
  • Custard
References

https://www.edu-quip.co.uk/blog/how-times-have-changed-school-lunches

Main meal

  • Fish & Chips

Dessert

  • Ice cream
  • Jelly
References

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/food/article-4798696/How-school-lunches-changed-dramatically-1906.html

www.telegraph.co.uk/only-in-britain/10-classic-school-dinners/amp/

www.thesun.co.uk/fabulous/food/4364065/retro-school-lunches-changed-over-years/amp/

Main meal

  • Turkey twizzlers
  • Potato faces
  • Beans

Dessert

  • Sponge cakeg
  • Custard
References

https://www.edu-quip.co.uk/blog/how-times-have-changed-school-lunches

Main meal

  • Rectangle Pizza
  • Chips

Dessert

  • Arctic roll
References

http://www.educationengland.org.uk/articles/22food.html

https://www.edu-quip.co.uk/blog/how-times-have-changed-school-lunches

Main meal

  • Lasagne
  • Mixed vegetables

Dessert

  • Banana
  • Yogurt
References

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/apr/27/jamie-oliver-school-meals-gove

Main meal

  • Chicken Korma
  • Rice
  • Potatoes (often mashed)

Dessert

  • Fruit crumble
  • Custard
References

https://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/apr/27/jamie-oliver-school-meals-gove