The Buttery, a bar for the Upper Sixth, was introduced in 1971. Payment was for a time by purchase of a ticket, a system which avoided having to look after cash and which also, in theory, enabled alcohol intake to be strictly monitored. In 1979 some boys discovered that the tickets were printed on an old machine in the art school, and a late-night break-in allowed sheets of extra tickets to be produced. These were duly sold at a fraction of face value and it took a couple of weeks for the authorities to realise that the sharp increase in alcohol consumption was matched by a dramatic fall in ticket sales. The Buttery was shut for an indefinite period soon after.
“It was supposedly to stop people going to the pub,” Simon Box (1 North 1975) said, “but we just had aperitifs there and then went on to supper.” Alcohol intake was managed by the bar, which originally served King & Barnes bitter or cider or sherry, only accepting pre-bought vouchers and not cash. “The ticket system they had was dodgy as you could save them up and use in one go,” Patricia Webb (East 1975) said. “I think I only made that mistake once.” Moira Wills said that when girls started using Butts they brought in sherry. “I think I had occasionally four sherries before prep, which looking back probably explains some rather poor essays.”
Originally sited in the old Junior Common Room (down the corridor opposite Hall) it has had a variety of venues since, including High Upfold and Gatley’s, and is now housed near the music practice rooms.
It used to be open every day – 6pm to7pm Monday to Saturday and 12pm to 1pm on Sunday – and was accessible by all those in the Upper Sixth who had turned 17. Access is now much stricter and it is only open to serve alcohol one night a week to those who are 18.