In May 1867, newspaper advertisements invited tenders for the supply of luncheons at the new India Office in Whitehall.
The tender of Frederick Eneas Nicholes was accepted in July. Nicholes signed an agreement on these terms:
• The purveyor would be provided with a kitchen, coals, gas, and furniture, but not with plate, linen, glass, cutlery, earthenware, or cooking utensils.
• A room would be set apart for ‘the exclusive use of gentlemen on the establishment of the India Office’ where they could be supplied with refreshments instead of in their own rooms.
• The purveyor would have use of the kitchen and luncheon room between the hours of 9am and 5pm, checking that the fires and gas were put out before handing the keys to the housekeeper.
• A tariff of prices was to be hung in the luncheon room.
• Items supplied were to be of the best quality, well cooked, and served with “civility, cleanliness and punctuality”.
• No smoking was permitted in the luncheon room and kitchen.
• Everything was to be paid for at the time of delivery. No charge was to be made for waiters, but an additional penny could be charged for the use of the tray, cloth etc where luncheons were supplied in officials’ own…