The Shrove Tuesday Dinner started in 1940 during the Blitz at the old Westminster Hospital. Staff and students decided a dinner should be held for the medical students and doctors to help raise spirits and alleviate the mood of the time. One student during the speeches sketched a caricature of the speaker on the tablecloth. This was then cut out, passed round, signed by all present and mounted. The dinner has continued without interruption since then and all the caricatures now hang in the basement of the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital.Since the formation of Imperial College School of Medicine from the previous medical schools, the Dinner has merged with St Mary’s Hospital Medical School’s Final Year Dinner resulting in the current Shrove Tuesday Final Year Dinner. Although many traditions have remained it is now an occasion unrelated to the start of Lent but instead a night for finalists to look back on their time at medical school and celebrate reaching the end of their medical school journey. It is a very intimate occasion with final years and consultants dining side-by-side hearing speeches from students and the chosen guest orator before being joined by other senior students and doctors for the after-party. Although filled with traditions, like the STFYD video, the Shrove Tuesday Final Year Dinner manages to remain unique to each class as it celebrates their individual journeys, their talents and the friendships they have each made at ICSM.
A record number of honoraries, registrars and students gathered on the evening of the 6th February, for the Shrove Tuesday Dinner which was held in a refectory completely transformed by candlelight.
This year the Guest of Honour was Dr. I. Magill and Dr. F. Dudley Hart was in the Chair. Dr. Hart, in a very amusing speech, traced the history of the Dinners and referred to the part played by Canon Hildyard in originating the Shrove Tuesday Dinners during the early years of the war. He thanked Dr. Lovibond for his admirable sketch of the Guest of Honour and complimented the Entertainments Committee on their organisation of the dinner.
Dr. Magill was introduced by a toast from Mr. C. F. Hutchison, Secretary of the Students' Union, who paid tribute to Dr. Magill as an outstanding anaesthetist who had brought distinction to Westminster in the field of anaesthesia.
Replying to the toast, Dr. Magill thanked the Secretary for his remarks and said the day was fast approaching when anaesthetists would ask one another the question "Who operates for you?"
Dr. W. E. Lloyd referred to the Hospital Cup Match played that afternoon against King's College Hospital. He caused great amusement by his remarks about the Welsh tragedy at Murrayfield.
The entertainment given after dinner was of a very high standard. The Glee Singers (Messrs, Altman, May, Perry and Swallow) kept the whole company convulsed with numerous songs, including "one of the songs that didn't quite reach the pantomime".
Mr G. H. Macnab sang several songs including, of course, "Annie Laurie"; and Mr. Webber and assistant gave a very interesting and amusing display of conjuring.
So ended what all agreed was a most enjoyable evening.
Watch this space for a compilation of all the past caricatures dating back from the 1950s!