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Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 70  1956  page 10
The Origin and First Hundred Years of the Society

By Frank W. Jessup, Honorary General Secretary   continued

of the Society to promise hampers of fruit, and similar contributions, for the dinner which was to be an important social part of the meeting.
   The meeting began at the Guildhall, Canterbury, at 11 o’clock on 30th July, 1858, with the noble President in the chair and about 450 members and their friends in attendance. The Society was able to congratulate itself upon the progress made during its brief life, and no less than forty-one new members were elected. The President had asked Larking to see that ballot-boxes were available, but I think he forgot to do so. Certainly with over 400 members present the balloting for forty-one candidates would have been an interminable process, and in the end they were elected en bloc. Time was required for other and, archaeologically, more interesting things. A paper by Roach Smith on the remarkable Saxon antiquities collected by Mr. Gibbs at Faversham was read, Mr. Gibbs having generously lent them for exhibition at the meeting. The party, which by this time had grown to over 500, then adjourned to the Cathedral, where Professor Stanley gave a series of interesting discourses. Then Beresford Hope conducted the cavalcade around the ruins of St. Augustine’s, where he "gratified them with a luminous and detailed account of the early history of the monastery, its subsequent desecration, and the recent restorations so munificently completed by himself." Afterwards smaller parties were formed to visit St. Martin’s Church, the Castle, and the towers, walls and gates of

the City. At 3 o’clock the company reassembled for Divine Service at the Cathedral, every seat being occupied from the Dean’s stall to the altar. On this occasion, as in the following year at Rochester, the music selected was by Kentish composers.
   The Dinner which followed, and over which Larking and Foss had nearly fallen out, proved to be a much less successful affair. It was held at 4.30 in the Music Hall. The number of those who sat down at the tables was 310; "above 100 more were disappointed of seats owing to their not having made sufficiently early applications" (certain traits discernible amongst archaeologists are evidently primeval), but perhaps, after all, these were the fortunate ones, for the caterer, whom Larking did not hesitate to say had cheated, had "shamefully provided insufficient food, and that of bad quality." In the following year, the local committee which was to be responsible for arranging the meeting at Rochester, was enjoined by the Council "to secure us as much as possible from the disappointment to which we were subjected last year in the deficiency of provisions at the dinner table, and that an increased price per head be allowed if necessary to secure us the accommodation we require "; (in fact, the charge was put up from 4s. to 6s.). It can only be hoped that the many speeches at the first dinner were not merely sufficiently substantial, but also sufficiently engaging to remedy the deficiencies on the tables.

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