Thursday, 19 September 2013

Please raise your glasses!


As part of the Laurence Sterne tercentenary, Shandy Hall are holding an evening talk by Professor Judith Hawley on eighteenth-century clubs and toasting. We would be happy to provide suggestions for toasts, as we hold the records of the Manchester Pitt Club, which once had fifty-eight toasts in an evening at one of their annual dinners.


The Manchester Pitt Club was founded in 1812 with the aim of putting down Levellers and Republicans. Their Annual Dinner, held on Pitt the Younger's birthday on 28th May, was an opportunity for members to voice their loyal and anti-republican sentiments, which they did in the form of toasts.


Many of these toasts were distinctly xenophobic, including one to 'the Land we live in, and may those who don't like it, leave it', and 'the best process to bleach the tricolour white'.

The records of the Annual Dinner of 1820 lists fifty-eight toasts, several of which concern recent events at Peterloo the year before. They thanked the Committee of Magistrates, 'Mr Hay and the Magistrates of the Division, with thanks for their past and confidence in their future services', and 'Mr Birley and the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry Cavalry'.


The Shandy Hall event, which will be well worth attending if you are in the York area, is being held at York Medical Society on Friday 27th September.