Professor George Fleming (NCE 16 September) compares present attendances at ICE social events with those at Conversaziones a century ago.
Before World War II the Conversazione was completely free. In addition to musical entertainments and exhibitions, unlimited refreshments appear to have been available, including an abundance of strawberries and cream; hence the colloquial name 'strawberry feast'.
It is not really surprising, therefore, that attendances were high.
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