Chairman Adrian Lasrado welcomed members, wives, partners and guests to our May Open Meeting – 48 in all plus our guest speaker. New members Norman Williams and Nigel Paget were formally inducted. £45.87 was collected for the Chairman’s charity and the raffle raised £47.
Gerry Thompson will reluctantly take on the job of vice Chairman if no-one new steps forward. We have three member volunteers to speak in 2017 – more are welcome – please contact Phil Munson, firstname.lastname@example.org
Roger Davis is out of hospital but very tired – recovery may take several months.
Please advise news of members to almoner, email@example.com, tel:
01737 202243. Attendance: please notify Andrew Kellard, tel: 01737 554055.
[Last minute notifications in May nearly had the wheels off – but we survived]
Outings and Events
Old Coulsdon Fair: Saturday 2nd July. Help on the Probus stall welcome.
Ladies Lunch: Thursday 13th October – with entertainment as usual.
Show Boat: Theatre trip has had to be cancelled as the run is ending early.
Orpheus Centre Bletchingley (young disabled artists): Looking for a date to visit a rehearsal.
Contact: Please phone Jim on 01737 555974 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Annual Quiz: Thursday 17th November (evening). Contact Dennis Evans.
Today: Bob Ogley:
July 7th: Mick Taylor: Mills on the River Wandle
August 4th: Peter Jones: Milestones of the National Trust
September 1st: Dr R Cruthers: Doctor at Sea
Editorial – Ian Payne
Pauline and I have just returned from a trip to the Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. Karlovy Vary is their largest spa and was very famous in the 19th and early 20th century. Carlsbad, in English, means Charles Bath is named after Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia, who founded the city in 1370. Now a member of the EU, money has been poured into the town to renovate all the neo-classical and baroque buildings and the many colonnades full of hot and cold springs. We tasted the waters, found a concert (classical) most evenings, walked in the hills above the town and tasted the local fare (pork a specialty) at the many street restaurants.
The Czech Republic consists of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia. They are currently debating calling the country Czechia (but it could then be confused with Chechnya). Czechy won’t do because Czechy means Bohemia in Czech which would leave out the Moravians. We visited my distant relatives in Plzeň – Pilsen in English where Pilsner Beer comes from.
On this trip we felt as if we were in any western country – there was no border. This contrasts with our trips there and to Poland and Hungary before the Wall came down. Everything had been in a state of disrepair, the shops were all uniform only showing the type of produce they sold and selling uniformly packed goods. No longer the bare shelves, the four hour wait at the border and the sense of relief as one crossed back.
London Shopping: Christine Jarvis
Christine started by taking us back to Roman Londinium in 43 a.d. The Roman Forum was where Leadenhall Market (of Harry Potter filming) now is. The Romans imported wine, pottery, olives and materials – the beginnings of London shopping. The Saxons who invaded after the Romans left were farming people and so trade declined. The Viking invasion of Alfred’s England led to further development in London including its walls. At this time there was a market place every six miles. The Normans, however, were spoilsports and prohibited Sunday trading.
The statue of the Panyer Boy at St. Paul’s is from 1688 and depicts a boy sitting on his bread basket. With St. Paul’s Cathedral at one end, Cheapside was the biggest market in London up to 1900 – ‘céap’ means ‘market’ in Old English. Price and quality of goods was regulated by the Guilds (trades associations). Names of many London streets give an indication of the trades carried on there, e.g. Milk Street, Wood Street, Poultry, Bread Street. The term ‘upper crust’ came from here.
After the Fire of London in 1666, commerce moved to Piccadilly (originally Portugal Street) and that was the origin of West End shopping. Many shops had royal warrants including Dick Whittington’s Mercers Livery Company. Queen Victoria granted over 2000 – there are about 850 today. Very old shops surviving in Piccadilly today include Berry Bros. & Rudd (wine merchants), James Lock & Co. (hats), John Lobb (shoes), Fortnum & Mason (hampers etc.) and Hatchards (books).
Christine took us into the 19th and 20th centuries with the development of Tottenham Court Road, Oxford Street and Regent Street and stores: Heal’s, Maples, Selfridges (and a short history of Mr Selfridge), John Nash, Liberties, Hamleys (first toy shop in London – 1760) and Jaeger. Many of these stores and their owners have a fascinating history.
And on to Kensington and Knightsbridge: Barkers, Pontings, Derry & Toms and, of course, Harrods. Christine gave us all the details on who shops where but I’m afraid many of the ‘celebrity’ names were unfamiliar to me. Then on to the 1930s with consumer goods, cars, W.H.Smiths, Woolworths, M&S (including St. Michael) and Tesco. The swinging 60s brought us Boutiques and Biba (do visit the roof garden).
And what of the future? – On-line shopping, Amazon, Ebay and low cost no frills supermarkets Lidl and Aldi.
As Time Passes By: Reg Baker
Early Times – Part 5 (section i) – Daily Callers: The Postman
It was October when we finished Part 4 of Reg’s serialised story. Today we start Part 5, the final chapter of ‘Early Times’ which we will take in two sections.
Having discussed the role and influence of seasonal and periodic callers and visitors on every-day life, in the two decades leading up to world war two, attention is now turned to callers who would have been knocking on doors, in particular those of households, on a daily basis.
As the majority readers might well anticipate, the most welcome daily caller would have been that of the postman; delivering letters and small packets in all weathers with a cheery greeting and perhaps time for a short chat before continuing on his rounds; his only available forms of transport being either that of a pedal bicycle or shanks pony. (If the writer’s memory can be believed, in earlier days of this period, there was even a postal delivery on Christmas day; it was a special delight to receive either a card of gift ‘on the day’.) However, at certain times of the year, awaiting the postman’s visit was often tempered with angst, concern or rising expectation. This would be at exam result time or looking forward to birthdays, Christmas, the New Year or other family celebration.
Following convention, on the day following Christmas day, the postman would call, eventually to be followed by newspaper boys (no newspaper girls in those days!) and other trades people, to give seasonal greetings and collect any Christmas gratuity, otherwise known as Christmas box – hence Boxing Day. For a number of reasons, mainly socio-economic, and with the discouragement of a number of authorities, this formality slowly died out, and altogether ceased to exist by the end of world war two.
Daily postal services, as households knew them, are broadly the same as today. However, this service has suffered the consequences of modern technology, privatisation and competition, resulting in reduced numbers of collections, deliveries and other services.