New Year’s Eve was always the biggest party of the year at Shepheard’s. We have this description from The Egyptian Gazette of what that particular night was like in 1921, when 1,200 revellers were gathered in the grand dining room:
“One must admit that the native waiters looked somewhat exasperated, but to have ﬁreworks let off under their noses and paper streamers twisted around their tarboushes at the very moment of serving four plates of hot soup was not . . . conducive to . . . equanimity of temper.” Bread rolls and cotton-wool pellets doused in water were thrown from table to table, reported the correspondent, while a jazz band belted out the latest favorites over the din. At midnight the lights were dimmed and two dozen white doves were released from a balcony above the hotel foyer. The effect, apparently, was rather spoiled by the wags who lowered a squealing pig on a rope from an upper fanlight. I wish I’d been there.
The little silver pill tin, above, was a gift to guests at Shepheard’s at Christmas in 1942 – presumably it came ready filled with a hangover remedy.
At the end of this year in which Grand Hotels of Egypt was published, I’d like to send out a sincere thank you to all and anyone who has picked up a copy, and to all who have taken the time to read this blog. Whoever you are, wherever you are, I wish you happiness in 2013.