Portmadoc Central Kitchens

From Festipedia, hosted by the FR Heritage Group

Many years ago, lots of people went up every month from the London area to North Wales to work on the railway for the weekend. There were usually too many of us to all stay at one B & B, so we were all billeted around the town with different landladies. The interesting thing was, that when we all compared notes after our evening meals, we had all had identical dinners!

In the pub afterwards, we mused on how this could be. After some discussion, we decided that there must be a central kitchen somewhere in Portmadoc where volunteer dinners were prepared and then distributed to the various digs where the volunteers were staying.

The only problem with this theory was that no one knew where these central kitchens were or how the grub was distributed. None of us could recall ever seeing meals-on-wheels type vans scurrying around the town.

And then realisation dawned. We guessed that the only possible place for a central kitchen would have to be in the cellars under the Town Hall. It was, after all, centrally placed in the High Street.

But how did the meals get to our landladies?

Underground narrow gauge railways! That had to be the answer. Porthmadog had obviously heard of the underground Post Office Railway in London on which driverless trains delivered mail to various parts of central London. For 'mail' read 'meal' and there you have it. A network of tunnels under the streets of Porthmadog with narrow gauge railways (2 foot, of course) connecting Gladys, Mrs Ford, The Comical, et al. to the Town Hall. Simple, really.

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