For 1935 the crew list details the Purser, Steward and Stewardess to run this side of the operation. They had a cook, 4 waitresses, Pantry staff, Bar staff, and others reporting to them. One of the more intriguing job titles was the "Chocolate Boy", who would tour the promenade deck with a tray of sweets and chocolate bars for sale. Ice creams were available from a kiosk on the main deck and snacks and hot drinks were served by the Pantry in the aft saloon. The aft saloon also formed the main restaurant where meals could be ordered and consumed in style.
The available menu options may have changed from time to time. Those who travelled on Medway Queen speak nostalgically of "Fish and Chip Suppers". The example menu to the left dates from 1927. The prices (in shillings and pence remember) seem cheap to us but may not have been so in the 1920s. Those on a budget may well have opted for a cup of tea or even brought their own sandwiches. Look at the Galley Boy's account below; a meat tea was virtually a day's wages.
Ernie Crittenden was the Galley Boy in 1936: “I worked as a Galley Boy at the age of 14 years in what, for me, was a happy and exciting experience. The hours were long (average 14 per day) and my wage was 12/5d (62 ½ p) per week. The day began with the loading of crates of beer and foodstuffs and one learned to keep an eye on the tide. The tide would determine the angle at which the gangplank was pitched for loading the stores. As you can imagine, a steep gangplank was not very popular and at times was decidedly “hairy”.
Our galley range, which was a coal burner, shared the main smoke stack and it was not uncommon for a blow back of smoke which often left the chef and me choking. I was given urgent orders to run on deck and alter the direction of the vent cowls to hasten the removal of the smoke. The chef at the time was Mr. Tom Hester and I was firmly convinced that he could perform miracles with food. The varied jars and tins from which he produced “magic“ powders held me in awe and I sampled flavours that I had never tasted before or since. The skipper (Captain Hayman) always congratulated him on providing a fine meal and so did many others!
Adapted from "The Medway Queen" published in 2013 and reprinted by MQPS in 2014 and 2020