Friday, 6 July 2012

A dinner fit for the Residents’ Club

Researching a recent enquiry has meant that some of the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh Residency records were examined this week. The item photographed for the blog is a finely printed menu for the 19th Residents’ Club Annual Dinner, 1913 (our reference LHB1/117/6 (2)).

After graduating, a medical student was required to serve a practical apprenticeship to finish off the training. To do this the graduate had to get an appointment as a House Officer at a hospital. During the 19th and 20th centuries, House Officers at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh lived on the premises and were known as the Residents. Some of their illustrious members have included Joseph Lister (pioneer in antiseptics) and Sir Robert Philip (founder of the first Tuberculosis dispensary). A great sense of camaraderie frequently existed amongst the Residents. They developed their own rules and codes of conduct within the Residency Mess and, occasionally, outrageous behaviour was recorded.

Before 1950 the usual period of service was six months, and before 1948 this was unsalaried. On serving their time as Residents, the former students could start their careers as professional doctors, but to keep alive the friendships made in the Mess, they joined the Old Residents’ Club, formed in 1895. The menu features a portrait of Sir George Thomas Beatson, Society President, on the cover and plates of the Royal Infirmary of 1741-1879 as designed by William Adam and the Royal Infirmary as it was on Lauriston Place until the move to Little France in 2003. The menu (which is in French) includes cold Norwegian salmon, chicken braised George the Fifth style, and strawberries and cream.

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