Feasts and Gatherings

Parker’s Piece is a civic space on which the communities of Cambridge have long gathered. Known through its cricket as ‘one of the finest playgrounds in England’ it is a playground for everyone forever: a place for crossing boundaries, proposing new futures, and celebrating peace.

In the 1800s a tradition arose of large-scale feasts: most notably, the Peace Feast of 1814 for 6000 residents, the Feast for the Coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838 for 15000 residents, the Children’s Tea in 1856 to celebrate the end of the Crimean War, and the Feast for one thousand aged poor to celebrate the royal wedding of 1893. The Feast of 1856 also marks the day the Cambridge Award Act was passed ending the war of town and gown.

Organised by huge teams across all the parishes of Cambridge, residents came together on this land in 1814 under the motto ‘As knowledge spreads may discord cease, may nations know the worth of peace!’ Laurel leaves were used as decoration and banners emblazoned with devices.

The menus of 1814 and 1838 included beef, plum pudding, bread, cheese, salad, onions, vinegar, salt, mustard, ale, pipes, snuff and tobacco.