Ain’t no party like a Communist Party dinner from the 1950s


Today I’m in Hull (one of my ancestral homes and former home of The Housemartins – although those two facts are not related). I was looking at Robin Page Arnot’s papers in the Hull History Centre and accidentally ordered a file that was full of invitations for Arnot to various CPGB functions. I came across a menu for the 27th Annual Daily Worker Staff Dinner and Dance held on Maundry Thursday in 1956 (29th March). The function was held at the Imperial Hotel (in London presumably) and would have been held after Khrushchev’s Secret Speech, but before the CPGB 24th Congress, where the controversy over ‘democratic centralism’ started.

So what was the menu that night?

The entree was oxtail soup.

The main course was roast stuffed chicken, with roast potatoes and vegetables.

Dessert was a choice of Coupe Jacques or cheese and biscuits.

Coffee was to be served afterwards.

(Can you imagine The Supersizers doing a tv show based on this menu? The Supersizers Go Commie!)

As well as this exciting menu, there were to be four toasts, with Mick Bennett being chairman for the evening:

The ‘Daily Worker’ – Harry Pollitt

Response – JR Campbell

Our Guests – George Sinfield

Response – Harold Poole

The after-dinner entertainment were the Ventom Swift’s Swing Serenaders for dancing and ‘old time music hall’ presented by Unity Theatre, as well as a ‘topical’ sketch by members of staff. Novelty and spot prizes were also to be handed out during the evening.

Those communists sure knew how to party!

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