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  • Writer's picturePeter Berthoud

A Jubilee Dinner for Winston Churchill at The Savoy, London, 31st October 1950

Updated: Mar 9, 2023


Menu Front Page

On Tuesday 31st of October 1950, 275 Conservative politicians celebrated the 50th anniversary of Churchill's first election to Parliament by holding a grand dinner in his honour at The Savoy Hotel in London.


Churchill was a regular diner and drinker at the Savoy so the setting was appropriate and great efforts were made to ensure that the menu reflected his tastes and achievements with humour and affection.


Each course of the menu featured hidden tributes in French and these must have provided amusement to Churchill and his fellow diners as they interpreted the fare.

Menu

The Menu, with a line by line English translation.


LE DINER


LA TASSE DE TORTUE

TURTLE CUP

au sherry d'Oldham, 1900

with Oldham sherry, 1900

Les galettes de Dundee

Dundee pancakes


LES SUPRÊME DE SOLE

SOLE SUPREME

de Douvres, Hastings, Sandwich, New Romney, Hythe - et Manchester

from Dover, Hastings, Sandwich, New Romney, Hythe - and Manchester

aux champignons de la forêt d'Epping

with Epping Forest mushrooms


LES PERDREAUX RÔTIS SUR CANAPÉ CLÉMENTINE

CANAPES OF ROAST PARTRIDGE CLEMENTINE

L'unique sauce anglaise

The unique English sauce

Les pommes de terre toujour nouvelles de Woodford

Woodford's ever new potatoes

Les petits pois d'un grand ami de la France

Peas from a great friend of France

La salade mixte des adversaires politiques

A mixed salad of political opponents


LES ANGES À CHEVAL ONZE FOIS GAGNANT

ANGELS ON HORSEBACK ELEVEN TIMES WINNER


LES POMMES COX'S ORANGE SANS DÉSACCORD

COX'S ORANGE APPLES WITHOUT DISAGREEMENT


LE CAFE HOT AND STRONG À LA W.S.C.


Turtle Soup was a favourite of Churchill's, the International Churchill Society have an in depth article on the subject. Churchill was first elected as MP for Oldham in 1900 having failed to get elected in the same constituency in 1899. He was MP for Dundee for over fourteen years from 1908.


Churchilll was appointed by The King to serve as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (Dover, Hastings, Sandwich, New Romney, Hythe) on September 23, 1941. There is an account of Churchill's investiture here. Manchester's inclusion refers to Churchill's brief time as the MP for North West Manchester from 1906. He was also MP for Epping from 1924 until 1945 when the constituency boundary was redrawn.


The Roast Partridge Canapes were named in honour of Clementine Churchill, Winston's wife. They married on 12 September 1908, so had recently celebrated their 42nd year of marriage when this dinner was held. Churchill was serving as MP for Woodford in 1950. The references to France, political opponents and hot strong coffee are self-explanatory humorous inclusions. I can't find any particular reason why Cox's Orange Apples were chosen to represent agreement."Eleven times winner" refers to the 11 Parliamentary elections won by Churchill up until 1950.


Menu Title Page

The menu's front page includes Churchill's titles and honours, OM, CH & MP, The Order of Merit, Companion of Honour and Member of Parliament. Churchill did not become a knight until 1953 when he was granted membership of the Order of the Garter.


The crest at the top of the menu is the Coat of Arms granted to Churchill as Prime Minister and First Lord of the Treasury 1941-1945. His motto below reads Fiel pero desdichado (Faithful though disinherited). At the base of the title page is the Portcullis emblem of the Houses of Parliament.





Toasts

The Chairman for the event was Sir Arnold Gridley a Conservative MP, later ennobled as the 1st Baron Gridley.


Toasts, to The King and to Churchill, were proposed by Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, the 5th Marquess of Salisbury.


I discovered this menu in a bundle of Churchillian memorabilia including newspapers, magazines and ephemera including invites to significant events, especially those in Churchill's later life and his death and funeral in 1965. The original owner must have attended the dinner and kept the menu safely along with their other Churchillian souvenirs.


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