Starving fed as Entertainment in Phoenix Park Marquee

Starving Famine Irish paraded before gentry at British Gentlemans Club Chef Soyer’s feeding station at Phoenix Park. A marquee was installed with a hundred seating points with a bell rung to move the hungry along for the next group. It was later proved at this critical time that Soyer’s inexpensive soup provided little to no nutritional value.

From Cecil Smith’s The Great Hunger;

Soyer came to Ireland and his new model kitchen was erected near the main entrance to Phoenix Park on April 5th 1847. With a door at either end, the building held a 300 gallon soup boiler in its centre with tables and benches set around. There was seating for 100 with bowls set into the tables and spoons which were attached to the table to prevent pilfering. A bell rang , they (a hundred paupers) were let in , drank their soup , received a portion of bread , and left by the other door. The bowls and spoons were rinsed , the bell rang again, and another hundred paupers were admitted.(Cecil Woodham-Smith The Great Hunger p. 174)
Five thousand rations had been considered a daily maximum but up to 8,750 rations were served daily. Soyer had allowed himself 6 minutes per feeding cycle, so he could feed a thousand per hour. On April 5th , the Dublin Evening Packet described it as a gala day, there were Earls and Countesses , and Lords and Generals , and Colonels and Commissioners, and clergymen and doctors, who all paid five shillings to the Lord Mayor’s Charity. One headline (Dublin Evening Packet April 6th 1847) read , Five shillings each! When the animals in the Zoological Gardens can be inspected at feeding time for sixpence!

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