The rudimentary formal structures of government were supplemented by more informal structures and mechanisms. Often these involved the exchange of favours, courtesies and rewards. Municipal corporations were bound together by ceremony and conviviality and the later seventeenth century saw a proliferation of clubs, often based at a tavern or a coffee-house. The relationships of landlord and tenant, or parliamentary candidate and voters, were smoothed by hospitality, ranging from harvest suppers and Christmas dinners to free beer on election days. Reciprocity did not imply equality – far from it – but it did imply a recognition of obligations on both sides: each had something to gain from the relationship – respect, self-esteem, material reward. At a time of falling rents, landlords needed good tenants and elections gave voters real power, especially in small boroughs. Landowners were expected to be generous and hospitable; social and political relationships were facilitated by courtesies and gifts. When a great lord came to town, civic dignitaries put on their gowns and provided a feast in the town hall (with music); he would respond with money for the poor, a piece of plate, a buck for a special occasion and favours for the town or townsmen.