Seeing in the New Year at Shepheard’s

Pill boxNew 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.

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One Response to Seeing in the New Year at Shepheard’s

  1. Janine

    Andrew – last Sunday Dutch tv broadcast a new episode of O’Hanlon’s Heroes (if you want to know more please email me privately) where he was tracing the footsteps of Alexine Tinne, a female traveller/explorer in the 1800s. He visited the present Shepheard’s in Cairo and the hotel cellar appears to hold many memorabilia of the former Shepheards – cutlery and stacks of…well I don’t know but I think it would surely be worthwhile for you to plan a visit and explore what’s in there! It surely made me VERY curious and I wish I could go myself and take a peek.

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