A recent office refurbishment at professional services firm Scrutton Bland unearthed an unusual find. Amongst the old files and paperwork, staff discovered a rare magazine cutting of the 1904 Colchester Oyster Feast.
The page from the magazine, still in its original frame, depicts a series of sketches of some of the people attending the Feast together with witty captions. It was created by Ralph Cleaver, an artist and political cartoonist, whose work appeared in magazines and periodicals such as The Sketch, the Pall Mall Gazette and The Illustrated London News.
Dan Bligh, Managing Director of Scrutton Bland Insurance Brokers Ltd commented “We were somewhat perplexed when we found the framed cutting. The Colchester part of Scrutton Bland was founded in 1919 so the cutting obviously predates that, and nobody could recall any connection it might have had with the previous Directors, Partners or staff in the firm. We decided that the best home for it was to entrust it to the care of Colchester Museums, as they have such a wealth of material relating to the history of Colchester.”
The cutting was handed over to Philip Wise, Heritage Manager at Colchester and Ipswich Museum Service. “We do have some Oyster Feast programmes and photographs in our collections, but this cutting is something new,” said Philip. “It features some prominent figures of the day from politics, the army and the law as well as humorous scenes. We are very pleased to accept this donation from Scrutton Bland.”