The picture above is of Oriel Dining Hall, c. 1865. Jordan College’s would look much the same: “The three great tables that ran the length of the Hall. . .[with] the long benches . . . pulled out ready for the guests. Portraits of former masters hung high up in the gloom” (page 1). Slightly raised, running the width of the hall, would be the High Table with fancy chairs (rather than benches) suited for the College masters.
When I was at University College, the long benches facilitated some camaraderie among the students, primarily about the food. It included some kind of meat and potatoes (often prepared two ways at the same meal), something like Brussels sprouts, and a salad in which a piece of iceberg lettuce was topped with Spam or some other potted meat.
Young men were to wear jackets and ties to dinner, and ladies, dresses. I have no idea what I wore, but if hose and heels were required, I must have looked a sight.
And there was no ice.
Has anything changed?
Image: Oriel Dining Hall, c.1865. Andrew Dickson White Architectural Photographs Collection, Cornell Univ.