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Annual Dinner

January 11, 2014 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

The Society's sixty-first Annual Dinner will be held in the Members' Dining Room at the House of Commons, London, on Saturday 11th January 2014, at 6.30 for 7.30 pm. The title assigned to this year's function is EAST WIND COMING. We are much indebted to Jo Johnson, who makes a welcome return as our sponsor as a sitting Member of Parliament, a requirement for all functions held in this unique venue. We look forward to welcoming both him and all or most of our Honorary Members, as well as members of the Society from all over the world.

For our 2014 Annual Dinner the Society is delighted to welcome Brian Perkins, one of the great BBC radio announcers and news readers over nearly 40 years. Born in Wanganui, New Zealand, he joined New Zealand radio in 1962, before coming to the BBC in 1965 (John Snagge had just retired, but Brian worked alongside Alvar Liddell!). An accomplished musician, he joined the NZBC Symphony Orchestra as a double-bass player. He returned to BBC Radio as an announcer in 1978 and became one of that network's most recognisable voices, together with such as Peter Donaldson and Bryan Martin. His distinctive tones led him to be called on for a number of years to work with Noel Edmonds on his Sunday Radio 1 show – in almost a Watsonian role! Later, and lethally, Brian's character was latched on to by impressionist Jon Culshaw on 'Dead Ringers' – in the role of 'The Godfather/Big Daddy' of Radio 4 (often claiming to have done unimaginable things to Peter Donaldson!). He had to retire from the BBC in 2003, when he turned 60. Brian inherited his father's love of Sherlock Holmes and 'grew up with the sight and the smell of the books'.

The menu for the Dinner is as follows:-

  • Seared red mullet fillet warm potato and herb pancake
  • Fillet of Scottish beef Wellington with Madeira sauce seasonal vegetables, parmentier potatoes
  • Toffee meringue salted brandy apples
  • Coffee and Petit Fours


Most members will know that the seating capacity of the Members' Dining Room is limited to 170 and that this means it is only possible for them to invite one guest each. If the Dinner is oversubscribed a ballot will be held immediately after the closing date for applications, which is Saturday 30th November. Security at the House of Commons is necessarily strict, and admission will be by formal invitation only: for this reason we need to know the full name of your guest if you are bringing one. Successful applicants will receive personalised invitation cards which will have to be produced to the police on the night in order to gain entrance to the building, and as these will perforce be despatched during the Christmas postal rush please do not worry unduly if yours does not arrive until after the holiday. If you expect to be away at that time please give an address to which mail should be sent to ensure safe receipt.

Fish or vegetarian alternatives will be available if ordered in advance, and special dietary requirements can also be catered for provided sufficient notice is given. Space is provided on the application form for you to state your requirements.

The charge for the evening will be £75.00/US$150.00 per head, inclusive of everything except drinks which must be paid for individually on the night. Copies of the House of Commons wine and bar lists will be sent to all successful applicants so that they can order in advance: we have found that this gives everyone more time to mingle with friends in the bar beforehand – although you will be able to place an order on the night if you prefer.

The Dinner is a formal occasion and it is customary for gentlemen to wear dinner jackets (black tie) and for ladies to wear evening dress (short or long) but this is not obligatory. Visitors from overseas in particular may not wish to bring dress clothes for one evening only, and we should like to assure them that dark lounge suits and cocktail frocks are equally suitable.

Smoking is not permitted in any rooms, including the pre-prandial bar and the Dining Room itself.


January 11, 2014
8:00 am - 5:00 pm