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Annual Dinner May 2022

May 21, 2022


Gareth Bacon MP, on behalf of the Sherlock Holmes Society of London is delighted to announce that The Society’s Seventieth Annual Dinner will be held in the Members’ Dining Room at the House of Commons, London, on Saturday 21 May 2022, at 6.30 for 7.30 pm.  This is a replacement Dinner for the one planned for January 2022 which was cancelled at the last moment.

The title assigned to this year’s function is THE PROFESSORIAL PROVENDER. We are much indebted to Gareth Bacon MP, who has kindly agreed to act 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 many of our Honorary Members, as well as members of the Society from all over the world. 

Most members will know that the seating capacity of the Members’ Dining Room is limited. Because of the pandemic the House of Commons has restricted our numbers even further, to 120.  We know that there is significant interest from our members in attending this event and it is highly likely we will be oversubscribed. Members may only invite one guest each. If the Dinner is oversubscribed, a ballot will be held immediately after the closing date for applications, which is Monday 25 April. If the House of Commons relax their stance on numbers, we will keep our members advised of the position. A consequence of the limit on numbers, added to VAT rises and price rises generally, is that the event is significantly more expensive than the one which we had planned for January.

The charge for the evening will be £120.00/US$180.00 per head, inclusive of everything except drinks which must be paid for individually on the night. Please note that if you pay by PayPal but are not successful in the ballot you will be refunded. Successful payment by PayPal is not a guarantee of a place at the dinner.

Our guest speaker this year is Professor Michael Moriarty. Michael Moriarty read Modern and Mediaeval Languages at St John’s College, Cambridge, and went on to pursue research for a PhD on seventeenth-century French literature. He was elected to a Research Fellowship at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge in 1982, and then became College Lecturer in French and Director of Studies at Modern Languages in 1985. He was appointed to a University Assistant Lectureship in the Department of French in 1986, which was converted to a Lectureship in 1990. In 1995 he became Professor of French Literature and Thought at Queen Mary, University of London. In 2006 he was elected Fellow of the British Academy and in 2010 became a Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques. In 2011 he was elected to the Drapers Professorship of French at the University of Cambridge, and to a Professorial Fellowship at Peterhouse. His research is mostly on the literature and thought of early modern France; his most recent book is Pascal: Reasoning and Belief (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020). 

He has been married to Morag Shiach (Professor of Cultural History at Queen Mary) since 1992; they have two adult sons. His recreations include walking, listening to music, crosswords, sudoku, and re-reading the Sherlock Holmes stories.

The menu for the Dinner is as follows: – 

Flaked ham hock with pickled shallots, Granny Smith apples, cider dressing, pork scratchings

Oven baked corn fed chicken supreme with claret red wine vinaigrette, Blackstick blue cheese, walnut polenta, tender stem broccoli

Lemon and pine nut parfait, soft lemon parfait studded with toasted pine nuts, lemon curd and thyme crumble

Coffee and petits fours

Vegetarian and fish alternatives will be available.  If vegetarian or fish meals are required, we will provide further details. 

Copies of the House of Commons wine 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. 

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Further Information

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.  Please give an address to which mail should be sent to ensure safe receipt of the invitation cards in the days before the Dinner. Smoking, including e-cigarettes, is not permitted in any rooms, including the pre-prandial bar and the Dining Room itself.  

Diners must bring photo ID such as a passport or photo driving licence on the night.

Please see our note on the current COVID guidance from the House of Commons before booking the event.  COVID precautions e.g. contactless payments only, are now common in London.  If this guidance is updated, we will advise on our website

At the moment (23 March 2022) the House of Commons guidance on COVID includes: 

Face coverings: people on the Parliamentary Estate should continue to wear face coverings in crowded and enclosed settings where they come into contact with people they do not normally meet. This includes communal areas, and when moving around populated areas of the estate. Additionally, people should wear a face covering when asked to do so, and/or when it would make someone else feel comfortable.

Contactless payments: we no longer accept payments in cash at events. All payments must be made by card or contactless. Our tills accept contactless card payments up to a value of £100 and Apple Pay/Google Pay mobile payments, up to £20K, in our venues.

Testing: we continue to encourage all visitors to complete a coronavirus rapid lateral flow test before travelling to the Parliamentary estate. 

If you are unwell or have COVID-19: and in line with UK Government guidance, please do not visit us until you have two negative lateral flow tests on day 5 and day 6 (or two consecutive subsequent days at least 24 hours apart until day 10).

COVID remains a risk and visitors are strongly encouraged to continue to exercise personal responsibility at all times.

The Society likes to keep a record of its activities, including photographs of our meetings which are published in the Journal and on the Society’s website/Facebook page.  If you do not want to appear in a Society photograph please avoid being in any posed photographs and advise one of the meeting organisers.

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May 21, 2022
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