No Simple Affair: the College’s First Annual Dinner

Today Explore Your Archive is about firsts: the pioneers, the maiden voyages, and new beginnings. One of our favourite ‘firsts’ captured in our Archive is the College’s first Annual Dinner.

The College held its first annual dinner 85 years ago, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London. The attendees ate, among other delicacies, turtle soup and champagne sorbet.

The event was combined with an Honorary Fellow Admissions Ceremony. The College was only two years’ old but its global connections and the prominence of its founding members were enough to get it noticed. Two hundred guests were seated and dinned, including representatives from the United States, Sweden and France.

In his history of the College, William Fletcher Shaw wrote: ‘[College President Blair Bell] very sensibly postponed [the first annual dinner] to October 1931. It is interesting to recall in this post-war period that at that time the leading hotels quoted an excellent seven-course dinner for the sum of 12 shillings and 6 pence.’ Quite a bargain then!

The College continued its tradition by holding its 79th Annual dinner last Friday, with special guest speaker Jennifer Saunders in attendance.

Free Exhibit at the RCOG Library

Many Charming Letters

A small selection of charming, amusing and illuminating letters exchanged between RCOG co-founders William Blair-Bell and William Fletcher Shaw during the early years of the College will be on display in the RCOG Library Reading Room from Monday 21st November.

Joining these letters will be artefacts from the College’s heritage collections including William Fletcher Shaw’s obstetric instruments, William Blair-Bell’s original designs for the College’s official seal, and the badge worn by the College’s Presidents at official ceremonies.

Professor William Blair-Bell at the presentation of his portrait by the Liverpool Medical Students Debating Society in 1931.
Professor William Blair-Bell at the presentation of his portrait by the Liverpool Medical Students Debating Society in 1931.

Entry is free and commemorative postcards will be on sale in the Library and at the College reception desk.

Visit us:

Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologist
27 Sussex Place
Regent’s Park
London NW1 4RG

Explore Your Archive

Explore Your Archive is a campaign designed for archives of all kinds throughout the UK and Ireland. It is run by The National Archives and the Archives and Records Association. This year the main launch week will run from 19 to 27 November 2016. 

Find out more at

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