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Brief History continued

The Annual Dinner (described earlier) has been held in November in recent years at the Williams Club, Women's National Republican Club, the former Netherlands Club, Princeton Club, etc. we have been fortunate to have secured a number of most interesting Guest Speakers.

To honor the British Commonwealth in the Centennial Year 1995, a reception was held in The Princeton Club on May 24, the anniversary of the birth of Queen Victoria in 1819. A large number of Consuls-General of the Commonwealth were present at the reception, which was well attended by members and guests. It was truly a distinguished and enjoyable evening, for which many thanks were extended to Thomas M. Noone and the members of the Centennial Committee.

The Centennial Year was further celebrated on November 3 by a dinner and dance held at The Westbury Hotel, New York City. The guest speaker was the British Consul General, Sir Alistair Hunter K.C.M.G. and, in accordance with tradition, guests of honor were invited from the St. David's, St. George's and St. Andrew's Societies, King Edward VII Chapter of the D.B.E., the BS & UC Foundation. Thanks were extended to Eve B. Shirreff for the fine arrangements.

Current History...

There is something magical about the figure one hundred! The turn of the century, the ambition of every batsman to score one hundred runs, the congratulations still sent from Buckingham Palace to those celebrating their one hundredth birthday, etc.

Certainly the Centennial Year of 1995 was important to the BS & UC. Plannning started in 1985 when a Centennial Committee was formed under the leadership of Thomas Noone. A fine reception was held at the Princeton Club in May, attended by a number of Consuls-General of the Commonwealth.

The major event was, of course, the dinner and dance held on November 3, 1995, at the Westbury Hotel. This was a distinguished and enjoyable evening, of which all members could be proud. There is no doubt that a dais for the Guest of Honor – with the Stars and Stripes and the Union Jack at each end and the BS & UC banner in the middle – provides a focal point, and turns a club or hotel dining room into a special venue.

The main event since the Centennial has been the End-of-the-Century dinner and dance held on November 12, 1999 at the Racquet & Tennis Club.  With the tremendous enthusiasm of president Margaret Meyer and the Board of Directors, the extensive arrangements were handled by member Pauline Pastore with imagination, skill and a lot of hard work! Pauline put together a marvelous evening with a buffet supper, exhibition dancers, cabaret act, music of the Century, etc., and it is not too late to say yet another ‘thank you’ to Pauline.

The traditional events of the year remain popular.

In January there is normally a Bangers and Mash dinner, held at the Pig and Whistle Restaurant in recent years and always well attended. This is true also of the Indian Brunch, recently held at the Diwan Grill. A Sunday Brunch is held in the Spring at the lovely Knickerbocker Country Club in Tenafly, especially popular to our New Jersey members.

We are privileged to be able to hold the Commonwealth Day reception, Annual Dinner and Christmas party at the Racquet & Tennis Club or at the Union Club – both old and distinguished addresses in New York City.

The annual Cricket Match against Staten Island Cricket Club goes back to the early 50’s with such stalwarts as  Arthur Grundy, Sir David Hardy, Peter Hussey, et al. The afternoon has been organized for many years by Clarence Modeste, who has captained the BS & UC XI with Andrew Waud serving as Vice Captain. The match has been named in honor of the late Alan Kitchener, a staunch member of both the S.I.C.C. and BS & UC.

The opening event of the season has been held in recent years in the magnificent penthouse of member Marguerite Yates on Central Park West. The Tuesday Evening program, held the first Tuesday of the month at O’Casey’s Restaurant under the chairmanship of Geoffrey Kerr, remains an important and popular part of the Club.

Other events include a Day at the Races, originally organised by Wilfred Greenway and more recently by member Jane Owens. Special events have included a tour of the Museum of Modern Art, and quite recently a tour of the backstage of the Metropolitan Opera organised by member Lily Eszterag.

The BS & UC has members to-day not only from Great Britain and the United States but from a number of Commonwealth countries including Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, Guyana, India, Malaya, New Zealand, South Africa, etc.

The BS & UC was established in 1895 “to foster friendship among persons of British education” and let us hope that the Founders would be proud of the Club to-day.

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