Mitchell's and Butler's Deerstalker Magazine 1953 Volume 5 No.4
The British pub has often been described as a unique institution. Certainly no social historian could ignore its immense contribution to the development of our civilization, or its influence upon our national social life. For many centuries it has been the unvarying custom of Englishmen to meet in the inns with which our countryside is richly studded. They meet there not only for refreshment, but also, because the drinking of ale promotes sociability, for recreation and interchange of opinion. True, there has always been a minority of otherwise quite rationally minded people who have a curious and inexplicable fixation which causes their hackles to rise whenever they see a pub, but the solid and friendly walls of the inn have withstood their repeated attempts to impose a teetotalaritarian regime upon this country. Within certain time limits, the Englishman still has the freedom to consort with his friends in his local, to drink his pint, to play a game of darts or to discuss the implications of the Budget. If the day were ever to come when he were to be deprived of this fundamental freedom, it would be a disastrous thing for the social life of the nation.
The pub is a unique institution because it is to be found nowhere outside the British Isles. The Continentals may have their beer gardens, their estaminets or their bistros. These are not without their charm but they lack that indefinable atmosphere peculiar to the pub. Can you imagine the patrons of your local café or your local cinema banding themselves into a football team and making a continental tour? And yet that has just happened at an M&B house. The King Edward's Stores, Nelson Street, has for some time had a thriving football club. At Easter they were one of fifteen teams chosen by the F.A. to visit Belgium, there to play against local teams. We are proud to report that, although all but three of the British teams were beaten, our friends from the King Edward's Stores won their match by four goals to three. The important thing, however, is not whether they won or lost, but that they went to display to the Belgians the friendly and sportsmanlike spirit engendered by that unique product of the British way of life - the pub.
An Amateur British Champion
Some little time ago we were proud to acclaim the doughty deeds in the boxing ring of Bernard Foster. In the Forwarding Office we have another champion who bids fair to emulate the feat of Bernard by representing his country in a future Olympic Games. Barry Nock has a most impressive record for a youngster, having only recently celebrated his sixteenth birthday. Of his 55 contests to date, only three times has he been beaten, and we now salute him as the 7st 7lb Class 'B' Amateur Junior Champion of Great Britain for 1953. In his schoolboy contests Barry was Staffordshire Champion and Midland Finalist in 1949-50, Staffordshire Champion, Area Champion and North of England Finalist in 1950-51. In 1951-52 he was again Staffordshire Champion and Area Champion and as North of England Champion won a cup for the best winner. His schoolboy boxing career reached a splendid climax when he became Schoolboy Champion of Great Britain in 1952. Since becoming attached to our Boxing Section Barry has been unbeaten in his 22 contests, and we look forward to his continued success. Hearty congratulations, Barry. Keep on pushing out that straight left.
The Other Man's Job
by Harold Evans
Wheelwright's Section Engineers' Department
A wheelwright is a craftsman who can make his own wheels and bodywork for all types of horse drawn vehicles; fortunately we still have men at the Brewery who can do this today. Unfortunately it is a trade which is declining and this gives little encouragement to apprentices to learn the trade.
Although the trade is fading out, the wheelwright is being sought for in the Coronation Year to put into order some of the old broughams and coaches for use in the royal procession, some of these being hundreds of years old. I feel proud to have been a wheelwright since the age of eighteen when I began work at the Brewery in the Wheelwrights' Department in August 1908, having previously served five years at bodymaking at the Birmingham Railway Carriage Works, Handsworth, from leaving Cape Hill Schools at the age of 13. My father was foreman at that time until 1930 when he retired at 70 years of age, after 32 years service at the Brewery, He died at 78 years of age.
The Wheelwrights' Department was of some importance at that time, being responsible for the making, maintenance and painting of about 250 horse vehicles as well as the shoeing of 280 horses. The horse vehicles composed of Brewers' covered floats, pair and single horse wagons, skeleton drays, and tip carts, together with 8 broughams and phaetons, also the barrows and trucks for use in the brewery and yard. The working hours were from 6am to 6pm and 6am to 1pm on Saturdays. In those days there were no Annual Holidays.
We made most of our own vehicles by hand, the timber being bought in the log, sawn into planks of varying thicknesses from one inch to 4½ inches, all of Ash, Oak and Elm. All body framing, shafts, etc., were cut by hand saw and all planing was done by hand. Before commencing to build a float, two of us would be sawing for a week, cutting the 3-inch oak for under-framing, and the ash for side rails and shafts, etc. We had to cut these straight and square and as near to size as possible, otherwise much work would be left for planing to size required. We had to sharpen our saws daily and more frequently when sawing the 4½ inch hard oak planks for the skeleton drays to finish 4 inches when planed up. We used to keep the logs stacked for about 3 years for seasoning, turning the logs completely over each year when measuring for stocktaking. After boring and fitting up came the dressing of the rails and the final fitting up of the body ready for painting. All joints, tenons, were painted with genuine white lead, and I never knew a case of lead poisoning.
I think nothing looked more handsome than the old covered float in the bare wood with the brown oak under-frame, the elm panels and white ash curved rails. We used to keep a regular man on making the wheels, but when very busy the body maker would make his own wheels. The hubs for the wheels were ready turned, the oak spokes ready dressed and the felloes sawn for our standard vehicles, but in some cases we had to saw them by hand.
I wonder how many people outside the trade have studied a 4' 6" Float Wheel with its 14 spokes all tenoned and morticed into the hub. To mortice the hub after marking and boring with a 1⅛' bit hand brace was hard work. Each mortice had to have 2-⅛" holes bored through to the centre of the hub, then chiselled or morticed out for the 2¾" x 1⅛" tenon on the spoke. Each spoke had to come dead in line with its opposite spoke on the other side of the hub, also every alternative spoke was set back about ⅜" in the hub, which had to fit very tight. The spoke was pitched and tanged to meet the centre of the felloe which had to be bored with a 1¼" bit for the spoke tang which passes right through the felloe for wedging on the outer side; the felloes were bored and dowelled at each joint and finally dressed before tyreing. Here the general blacksmith who has already made and fitted all the body ironwork, stays, straps, angles, scrolls, dumb-irons, brackets, and spring clips, prepares for the tyre and banding of the wheel. He first of all measures around the wheel with his circular measure for length of tyre required; he then allows about 1¼" to 1½" for the tightening up of the joints and tyres. After welding up the tyre which was done by the general blacksmith and two strikers with sledge hammer on the anvil, then all fires were blown by hand bellows which have now been replaced by the electric blower.
The next job was the fixing and shrinking of the tyre on to the wheel. For the "cooking" or heating of tyres we had an upright brick built stove or oven about 6ft high and 8ft wide, lined with fire bricks, cast iron doors, and a well beneath for draught and about 18 inches of water. The water was necessary to produce steam which created a draught in the tall chimney stack on top. This oven would hold two of the biggest tyres at a time, which were heated to between red and white heat for expansion, then pulled out of the oven one at a time with tongues and placed over the wheel already fixed and clamped on to the wheel plate. This was done with tyre dogs and sledge hammers while two men rushed around with large water cans in order to shrink the tyre and to avoid burning the felloes any more than necessary. While this was being done the wheeler would be going round with a sledge, bumping up the tyre where necessary and finally a blow at each spoke end. The wheel then had to be drilled for a tyre nail at the centre of each felloe. The wheel was then cleaned off preparatory to painting.
With regard to the wheels, about 1,200 were in use and we would be retyreing for many days at a time in the long hot summers of years ago when tyres would expand and the woodwork shrink. We painted most of our own vehicles, keeping 5 or 6 coach painters fully at work at that time. We bought all the paints in paste form either in oil or turpe, the painter mixing his own paint and colours; all painting was done with the brush as we do even today on the lorries as this gives the best job both in finish and appearance.
Now the Shoeing Smiths. Until about 1920 I think we had 286 horses, all these were shod on the brewery in an old wooden shed behind the present Main Offices and alongside the wheelwrights' shop. There were 4 forges and standing space with a manger, and 4 horses could be shod at the same time. Eight shoeing smiths were employed with one fireman and dorman to each fire; the fireman making and fitting the shoe and the dorman did the striking and nailing on. All lighting was from gas brackets and gas stands on the floor connected to rubber tubes, all naked gas lights and the old hand blown bellows to each forge, sparks flying around the old wooden shops and roofs soaked with tar and tarpaulin, yet we never had the shop on fire.
When I came to the Brewery in 1908 we had two old steamers and trailers. These were the only mechanical lorries until about 1912 when the brewery began with petrol lorries, and until the 1914 war we had a mixed fleet of six or eight vehicles consisting of Leylands, Hallfords and Austin, and the two steamers and trailers. However, when the war broke out the best of these were claimed by the Government, also a number of horses and horse drawn vehicles for war purposes.
In 1920 we had our first fleet of twenty 4 and 5 Ton Leyland Lorries, and soon after these came we were sending many of the old horse vehicles and horses to Caves' Repository to be sold by auction. As the fleet of lorries increased we have followed up the maintenance of the bodywork, painting, etc, and making of many of the new bodies.
We had our woodworking machines in 1923, and about 3 years later became a section of the Engineering Department. Since that time the fleet of lorries has increased until now there are about 170 lorries of all types from 10 cwt Vans to the 12 Ton Hippos, the body work of which we keep in repair and make new and paint, most of which we do in the wheelwrights' shop on the Brewery. All painting is put on with the brush and will take some beating today for the appearance of our commercial vehicles. Yes, the old wheelwright always did a good job, and we are still doing a good job today.
Old Soldiers Never Die
History was made on 31st January last when the Lord Mayor of Birmingham, Alderman W. T. Bowen, performed a re-naming ceremony at "The Albion" Livery Street. As a compliment to the members of the Old Contemptibles' Association who have been meeting here for the past 25 years, it was decided to rename the house "The Old Contemptible." A sign, designed by Bruce Bairnsfather, and depicting a typical British Tommy of the Kaiser's War, was unveiled by the Lord Mayor to the strains of "Tipperary" heartily sung by the assembled company of old soldiers, whose lungs of brass, trained on the barrack square, proclaimed them to be very far from fading away.
Mr. Lawrence Mitchell, who presided, revealed that the change of name was the suggestion of Councillor E. H. Richardson, Secretary of the Old Contemptibles' Association, and said that the Company was proud to institute a permanent memorial to a grand body of men. The timing of the renaming ceremony was particularly appropriate, as it coincided with the Silver Jubilee of the foundation of the Association, and the house had been its headquarters during the whole of that period. Mr. Lawrence said that so far as could be ascertained, this was the first house to be called "The Old Contemptible."
After the unveiling of the sign, Mr. Bruce Bairnsfather gave an amusing account of the events that led up to the creation of "Old Bill" during his service in the front line trenches. His short breezy talk revealed that, had he not become a successful artist, he might well have topped the bill at The Hippodrome. Not the least impressive part of the proceedings was the inspection by the Lord Mayor of a Guard of Honour provided by members of the Association. While spectators huddled together in the biting wind, the parade of old comrades, many without hats or coats, stood stiffly to attention, disdaining the whirling blizzard as unworthy of their notice. Five of our colleagues from Cape Hill, who were in the parade, Hoppy Walker, Charlie Matthews, Mickey Austin, Harry May and Tom Conniff were joined by an ex-servant of the Company, Billy Hart. On the conclusion of the formal part of the proceedings, the members of the Association enjoyed a grand spread, and over a pint or two of good honest beer, were able to re-live many of the good old days way back in 1914. It was a memorable day for these grand old veterans, and enabled them to realise that their deeds of valour in the very early days of the first World War had earned enduring remembrance.
A magnificent record of service has been terminated by the retirement Harry Williams, Stocks Department. As long ago as 1897 Harry entered the employ of Cheshire's Brewery at the tender age of 13 years. He was employed as an office boy from 8am to 6.30 pm for 5/- per week. He came to Cape Hill in 1914 at the time of the fusion of the Windmill Brewery with Mitchell's and Butler's. Harry is rightly proud of his 56 years service and regrets that ill health compels him to hand to Bill Davenall, Survey Department, the distinction of being the longest serving employee. Harry's many friends were unable to wish him well upon his retirement, and the Deerstalker conveys the good wishes of all for improved health and many happy years to come.
The Deerstalker extends congratulations and best wishes for future happiness to Leslie Cartwright, Wine and Spirit Forwarding Department, and Olive Smallman, Head Maltster's Office on the occasion of their recent marriage. Mr. and Mrs. Leslie Cartwright are pictured above, an image captured on their wedding day.
Ricky Harris, Resident Engineer, has left us to seek pastures new in the North of England, and takes with him the good wishes of all in his new venture. During his 7 years service Ricky had made many friends both in business and recreational circles. His main recreation was Lawn Tennis, but he also enjoyed his cricket in the inter-departmental competition. He played his full part in the administration of the Recreational Club, as Chairman of the Lawn Tennis Section and a member of the general committee.
Harry Homer, Engineers' Office, is achieving local fame as a talented performer in the Cradley Forge Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society. This year's production was the musical comedy "A Country Girl." A critic writing in the local press has this to say - "Outstanding, as always, was Harry Homer, whose characterisation of the bouncing, boisterous Sir Joseph Verity, created great amusement." Harry must have been excellently cast to earn the bouquets "bouncing and boisterous." His wife also won commendation from the critic when he wrote: "I particularly liked Beatrice Homer's singing and thought she was convincingly aristocratic."
The Deerstalker congratulates Charles W. Cook, Malt and Hop Department, and Mrs. Cook on the occasion of their Ruby [40 years] Wedding Anniversary on 26th April, also Harry Evans, Transport Department, and Mrs. Evans on their Silver Wedding Anniversary on 24th March, and Ronnie Walton and Mrs. Walton, of the Uplands Hotel, Handsworth, on their Silver Wedding Anniversary on 27th February.
References to anniversaries reminds us that we owe a sincere apology to Mr. and Mrs. Goodman, of the Edgbaston Hotel, Lee Bank Road and their friend, Mr. Brommage. In the last issue our picture showed Mrs. Goodman with Mr. Brommage and Mr. Goodman left out. We have endeavoured to make amends by reproducing the picture, this time, we hope, of Mr. and Mrs. Goodman, above.
The eleventh visit of the Mobile Blood Transfusion Service unit to Cape Hill was the least successful in the number of donors attending. The long winter provided one of its worst days for the occasion with its attendant colds. The Service has lost, for various reasons, many of its stalwart supporters, and welcomes at any time volunteers for this life-saving service.
The proudest possession of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Heslop, parents of Alfred Heslop, of the Queen's Head, Hockley Street, is a telegram of congratulations and good wishes from the Queen on the occasion of their Diamond Wedding Anniversary. Mr. and Mrs. Heslop, both aged 81 years, were recipients of a host of good wishes, and the 40 guests at the Queen's Head made the occasion a memorable one.
The social activities in our licensed houses take various forms, and domino playing becomes increasingly popular. The Brewery Tavern, Bloomsbury Street, Nechells, prides itself on its domino team which recently won the Shadow League Cup. The team is maintaining its good form and hopes to do even better this year. Mrs. Powell, the manageress, has completed 39 years of service with the Company. She and her late husband were two of Mrs. Gomm's staff at the Crown, Broad Street.
The many friends of Walter Depoiy, for a long period our Ambulance Room Attendant, will be glad to learn that an operation in hospital for the removal of a cataract of the right eye, has been successful. Walter is content with his small-holding at Eccleshall in North Staffordshire and finds the Deerstalker an excellent medium to maintain contact with his old associates.
The name of Donald Hall was perpetuated when his parents presented to St. Mary's Scout Group, Bearwood, a bugle bearing his name. More than 200 parents and friends filled the Church Hall when the County Commissioner, S. Dawson Collins, presented the posthumous award of the Certificate of Meritorious Conduct to Mr. and Mrs Hall. Donald was a member of the scout group for 9 years before joining H. M. Forces. In November 1951 he broke his leg during an assault course. Poison set in and his leg was amputated below the knee, but the infection continued and complete amputation became necessary. In spite of continued suffering Donald showed great courage and fortitude. These qualities of courage and cheerfulness not only exemplified the attributes of a true scout but inspired everyone who met him. Donald entered the Company's service in December 1948, and was employed in the Spirit Stores Office until leaving for National Service in August 1951. Mr. and Mrs. Hall are pictured above with the Scout Commissioner S. Dawson Collins.
We record with deep regret the passing of William E. Marston. For many years he was in charge of the Purchase Department, and upon the retirement of Mr. S. H. Matthews in 1941 became Office Manager. He later became Assistant Secretary of the Company and retired in January 1947, due to ill health, having completed almost 50 years service. Away from the office the small and wiry figure of Bill Marston was well known on Midland bowling greens. Besides being a skilful exponent of the game he was a grand administrator. He served our Bowling Section unstintingly as Chairman of Committee for 25 years, became a Vice President, and when recognition of his service was made he used the cheque to give to the Club the "W. E. Marston" Trophy. Included amongst his other interests was the Smethwick Musical Society, of which he was also a Vice-President. Bill Marston was a man with a fund of good humour and was popular with his colleagues. To his son, Norman, we extend sincere sympathy.
At a recent monthly meeting of the Committee of the Brewery Sick Society, the resignation of Sam Eddles, Malt and Hop Department, was accepted with regret. Ron Haddleton was co-opted to fill the vacancy on the Committee.
At the time George Lines, Managed House Department, was taken ill in his office chair, his friends and colleagues were not prepared for the shock of his sudden death a few hours later. Entering the Company's employ in May 1915, George has rendered most conscientious service broken only by his enlistment in H. M. Forces in April 1916 to October 1919. Before his war service he was employed on the Ledger Department, and upon demobilisation on the Estates. After a short while he was transferred to the Managed Houses Department where he made himself a most invaluable member of the senior staff. For the past eleven years as clerk to the Managed Houses Superintendent, George must have been known to every licensee of the Company's houses, if only as a voice at the end of a telephone. George, ever popular with his colleagues, particularly for his droll humour, will be much missed and sincere sympathy is extended to his son, Barrie, Head Brewers' Office, and family.
At an interesting ceremony at Romsley Sanatorium Mrs. F. Cocks, wife of the licensee of the New Inns, Moseley Road, advanced a stage nearer her ambition to provide every ward in the city sanatoria with a television set. By organising dances and concerts, Mrs. Cocks, with the enthusiastic support of the League of Friends, has reached her target of raising £2,000. This has been accomplished in an incredibly short time, and already sixteen television sets have been presented. Jack Morley, House Inspector, in formally presenting three sets to a representative of each ward, paid tribute to the noble efforts of Mrs. Cocks, which had the company's support. Above is a photograph taken when TV sets were presented to the Romsley Sanatorium.
With the competition days drawing closer Tim Riley reports that the Fire Brigade's season of hibernation is now over. With the stimulus of the record successes of last year, the enthusiasm of the members knows no bounds and great results are anticipated. The big dates are 30th May for Smethwick and District competitions, Annual Camp at Torquay, July 4th - 11th, and the Midland District Competitions in September. Here's wishing you the best of luck boys, and happy days.
In spite of its efficiency the Brigade is not allowed to choose its own time for fire-fighting, as evidenced by two recent calls. The excellent turnout at 6 o'clock on a Sunday morning and the promptness with which the fire was handled prevented serious damage to the staff canteen. It can be assumed that members' wives had an early cup of tea this particular Sunday.
Saturday afternoon at 3.30pm, on a lovely day, too, was not a good time to fire a wooden hut on the field. Arson was suspected but in spite of difficulties the Brigade coped in its accustomed efficient manner.
Congratulations to Second Officer Fred Woodrow, who, as the result of a three weeks course, has been awarded his diploma as a qualified instructor in Civil Defence.
It is rightly said that most things have small beginnings. This is very true of the F.B.M.C., which correctly translated means Fire Brigade Motor Club. The boys have brought an Austin Seven, vintage model, and after stripping it down, they are in the process of reassembly at the time of writing. Peter Higgins hopes it will be road worthy before he receives his calling up papers next September, but as someone suggested, it should be ready in time for his 'demob.' We understand a new instruction has been issued to the duty men. In the event of a fire call a ladder is to be placed against the wall in the station yard to enable Maurice Coley to enter the brewery from Majuba Road. By this means it is hoped to get Maurice into the station, at least by the time the fire engines return.
Births, Marriages, Retirements and Deaths
To the wife of Ben Evans, Cape Maltings, a daughter. To the wife of Horace Clarke, Bottlery Fitter, a daughter. To the wife of Ray Talbot, Wages Deptartment, a daughter. To the wife of Trevor Elias, Advertising Department, a son.
Leslie Cartwright, Spirit Forwarding Department, to Olive Smallman, Head Maltster's Office, on 21st February 1953.
Harry T. Williams, Stocks Department. Charles Watkins, Beer Stores.
Wilfred L. Collins, Foreman Carpenter. George H. Lines, Managed Houses Department. F. W. Ingram, Central Hotel, Colwyn Bay. William Lawrence, Lamp Tavern, Walsall. William E. Marston, late Assistant Secretary. Walter Edwards, late Transport Department. Mrs. F. Humpage, late Manageress. James W. Barker, late Stables Department.
We turn to Highgate Brewery for the twenty-sixth in our series of veterans. It is appropriate that the limelight should fall on Arthur Rowley, the second Walsall employee to be featured, as he is the deputy for Fred Broadstock in the brewery, the veteran who appeared some three years ago. Arthur, a Walsall man born-and-bred, entered the employ of Highgate in January 1915, and has obviously enjoyed every minute. His early days were spent in the cellar, after which he was moved into the brewery. He has performed every task in the brewing tower and as deputy working brewer today has his hands full with its multifarious duties. His work is also his hobby, and he speaks with some feeling of his contentment with his lot which is made so pleasant by the team spirit of his colleagues around him. Since an illness four years ago, Arthur has been in excellent health and still enjoys his ten minute walk from his home to the brewery.
News From M&B Outposts
Social events take pride of place in Highgate news this issue. Following the breaking of tradition last year the children's annual treat was again a pantomime visit. Encouraged by the successful effort twelve months ago, the Committee planned on a grander scale. Cindrella, at Birmingham's Theatre Royal, provided the party with grand entertainment, refreshments and sweets combined to make the occasion a very happy one. Mason's Coachways laid on their customary 'home to home' service by taking the children on a circular tour to their front doors. Not to be outdone, 70 members and friends of the Social Club, including Messrs. English, Houghton, Hockey and Knox made Dudley Hippodrome the venue for their annual pantomime outing. Although welcomed as the Highgate Brewery Glee Party, the boys were not in their usual voice, but all much enjoyed the entertainment provided by the 'Babes in the Wood.' The refreshments, before and after the show, formed an essential part of the proceedings. Messrs. English, Stanwell and White were amongst the 'ticket only' company of 50 attending the First Annual Reunion Dinner of the Highgate Bing Boys in the Brewery Recreation Room. The excellent fare provided by the Canteen Staff, assisted by members of Walsall Town Hall staff was greatly enjoyed. Jack Cartwright compered the first class entertainment provided by E. G. Langley, L. Broadhurst, H. Wiles, T. Rushton and M. Kelly.
South Wales For centuries the Angel Inn, the Company's property at Port Talbot, has played an important part in the civic affairs of the town. The old inn, which dates back to the early 16th Century, has given up many secrets from time to time. It was there that Nelson stopped when he made his journey through the town in 1802. The "Angel" prior to the Company's acquisition was for 150 years run by the same family. Renovations have been carried out, and quite recently while paper was being stripped from the walls, our Manager Mr. J. Roberts discovered underneath layers of wallpaper a letter dated 5th March 1917, from 10 Downing Street, and signed by the Right Hon. David Lloyd George, who was Prime Minister at that time. The letter written in Welsh, urging farm workers and everyone to get the most from the land to help in the drive for victory, is not addressed to any specific person, although the landlord of the "Angel" at that time was Mr. David Jones. It is thought possible that the inn might have been the meeting place headquarters of either farmers or allotment holders. It does emphasise however, that 36 years ago Port Talbot was not nearly as industrialised as the present township.
Deerstalker readers will be pleased to hear that Mr. J. E. Mills has been elected Chairman of the South Wales and West of England Section of the Brewers' Guild, for the ensuing year. We extend a sincere welcome to Miss M. Parry [Accounts Department], Miss M. Smith and Mr. D. Manual [Transport Department] who have recently joined the staff of the South Wales Company. We are pleased to report that Mr. E. Bailey [Transport Department], is on the road to recovery, and will soon be back at work. Sympathies are extended to Tony Edwards [Transport Department], who has had the misfortune to damage his wrist. We all wish him a speedy recovery.
The second Annual Social Evening was held in the Assembly Room of the Rising Sun Hotel on Friday 6th February 1953. Mr. E. H. Bennitt was in the Chair and said the social side of the Company's venture into South Wales had grown and flourished with the business side. "Some firms have a tendency to departmentalism - the kind of snobbish rivalry between them" he said. But functions like this one of ours are the fruit of happy team work; it is a united effort, not the work of particular individuals. Entertainment during the evening was provided by Messrs. Jack Twohigg, A. Browne, Dan Horton, and P. Mahoney, Misses M. Hopkins, A. Williams, Vera Walsh and a compere was Mr. George Watts. Joint M.C.s were Messrs. Ernest Mole and Dick Jones. The social was organised by a committee drawn from each department: Messrs. R. Gale, A. Thomas, W. Hale, E. Perkins, and Mrs. M. Miller. Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett organised an excellent buffet which together with the "Good Honest" rounded off an enjoyable evening.
Profile : Miss M. H. Greenhill
Having bid Mrs. Davenall goodbye in our last number, we heartily congratulate Miss Greenhill on her appointment as Welfare Supervisor. She entered the Company's service in December 1940, and was attached to the Properties and Licensing Department before joining forces with Mrs. Davenall in February, 1942, to look after the welfare of our womenfolk. We all hope that Miss Greenhill will have a long and happy term of office. Outside her business life Miss Greenhill has many and varied interests. She treasures her membership of that august body, the Soroptomists, and is fond of good books, good plays and films.
Profile : Robert Gurley
The winning of the coveted Henry A. Butler Trophy is proudly sought after by every active member of each section. At the recent finals night of the Table Tennis Section, Bob Gurley was popularly acclaimed the winner in this season's competition. The reason for this popular win was that Bob Gurley claims the distinction of being the youngest winner, in any section of the Recreation Club, to hold the trophy since they were presented by the Chairman to perpetuate his father's name. Sixteen years-old Bob, the second son of George Gurley, our Grounds Superintendent, is employed as a clerk on the Purchase Department. Like his father and brother Geoff, at present in the Forces, young Bob displays more than average skill in ball games. Congratulations, Bob, your achievement, we feel, will not be bettered for some time to come.
M&B Houses : The Old Royal
by Sydney Raine
At first sight, there seems to be no connection between the old-time Duke of York, "who had 10,000 men," and the Old Royal. In fact, but for that lover of cheery company, whose statue, now in stony silence, surveys the Horse Guards Parade, 124 feet out of reach of his creditors, the Old Royal would not stand where it does today.
It was in 1763 that the Duke attended a Ball at the Assembly Room in The Square, and [according to Hutton], growled that "the room was mean and the entrance meaner." This comment set our local worthies thinking, with the result that a meeting was called at the Widow Aston's coffee house in Cherry Street in 1770, when it was decided to raise £4,000 to build a hotel worthy of the town, a sum which was later raised to £15,000, in equal shares of £100 each. This sum was to be got in by means of a Tontine. The Tontine was an agreement between fifty subscribers that each one should nominate a life in being, and the particular subscriber, or his heirs, whose nominee outlived all the other nominees, should become possessed of the property.
Tontines, illegal today, were formerly a popular means of raising money. The man who has a mild gamble, nowadays, learns sooner or later, whether he is "on a good thing," but the gambler in a Tontine, who usually chose a child as his nominee, could never in the natural order of things, have the satisfaction of knowing that he had "spotted a winner." However, the subscribers had an annual share out of the profits, and as the number of participants decreased, as the nominated lives dropped out.
Many well known Birmingham men figured in the first list of subscribers amongst whom one notices the names of : Dr John Ash, who gave his name to Ashted Row, and founded the General Hospital. Matthew Boulton, the great engineer of Soho. He entrusted his chance to the life of his son, who failed to stay the course. Sir Charles Holte, of Aston Hall, who nominated a young relative of five years-old. His share was left to her, and, when the cake was cut up, by mutual consent, in 1861, she took a third of the whole. James Taylor, the button-maker, of Moseley Hall, an original partner in Lloyd's Bank. Thomas Day, the author, who with a surprising lack of foresight, nominated himself, being then aged 32. Thomas Westley, whose share was to descend eventually to Westley Richards, the gun-maker, one of the three final beneficiaries at the share-out in 1861. Edward Sadler, the lawyer, who does not seem to have shown much discernment, in choosing the Prince Regent as his nominee.
However, the Tontine plan was never completed. The day arrived in 1861, when only three shares remained, swollen in value by the closing of forty seven lives. These little children, of 1781, two girls and a boy, had grown up to be octogenarians, and Mr Dee's 31 year lease of the Hotel was just expiring. Agreement was reached to wind up the Tontine, and sell the property, which, with its stabling, coach houses, piggeries etc., covered about four times the area of the present building.
Messrs. Cheshire & Gibson carried out the auction on May 16th, 1861, and the first lot, the Hotel itself, was bought by the Eye Hospital for £5,500. The other seven freehold lots comprised the tap-room, coach-houses, stabling, etc., and covered an area three times that of the hotel. The surviving three shareholders had, certainly, no cause to grumble.
So ends the story of the Royal Tontine. During the first eighty years, the period of the Tontine, the Royal was the venue for many a hundred Dinners, Balls, political and commercial meetings, where the future destiny of the town was often shaped. The Princess Victoria, Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington are numbered amongst its famous guests. In 1791, Dr. Priestley arranged a political dinner at the Royal, but the tragic story is too long to tell here. Little could that famous scientist picture the three days of riot, pillage and destruction, which were to be the sequel of his "temperate festivity." But my space is exhausted, long before my tale is told, and the further story of the Old Royal must wait for another day.
Members' Day this year will be held on Saturday September 12th. This year it is proposed to augment the Children's Sports, usually held on the day, by holding sports for employees. These sports used to be a regular feature of the Brewery Recreation Club until the early 1930s when they ceased through lack of entries. Through a circular sent out early this year a sufficient number of employees have indicated they would give active support to a renewal of the sports, but the General Secretary would be grateful if any employees who have not given this indication would get in touch with him as soon as possible. We want your ideas! Please let us have them! But more than anything we need your active support. In addition to the normal events we are hoping to include some novelties and we should very much like to organise Team Events, such as Tug-of-War, Relay Races, etc. Anyone who would be willing to organise a team from their department please get in touch with the General Secretary. Entry forms will be out early in the summer; please help by filling them in and returning as soon as possible so that we can see if sufficient support is forthcoming.
Squash & Racquets
Guest, Keen and Nettlefold's Squash Club paid a visit to Norfolk Road recently, when our side won 3-2. Dave Foster, Stan Lathwood and Peter Butler all won their matches while Ted Grant and Johnny Wilson were beaten after a hard fight. Any member of the Recreation Club wishing to play Squash can obtain the keys to Norfolk Road Squash Court on application to R. Looms. Equipment can also be supplied.
Secretary : C. Lightfoot
At the time of writing the Championship season is upon us, and our boys are making excellent progress. The Schoolboys. Of the three who won Birmingham titles D. Carter and J. Clarke reached the Inter-County stage where they were beaten on points while L. Warren went on two further stages, only to be narrowly beaten in the quarter-finals at Wolverhampton.
National Association of Boys Clubs. D. Shaw, our only competitor, did very well to box his way successfully through three stages of this Championship, ultimately being defeated at Doncaster in the Semi-Finals.
A.B.A. Junior Championships. Of the five boys taking part, two, B. Nock and E. Hughes won Midland Counties titles, and B. Lawrence almost won a third when he dropped his opponent in the last round of the Final and in his excitement, allowed him to recover sufficiently to get a points verdict. Hughes' performance in the quarter-finals against A. Peacock [already a 1952 National Champion] was remarkable when it is remembered that Peacock had had over 50 contests while this was Hughes' 4th - well done Ted! Barry Nock, of course, went on to win his second National Title and become the first brewery employee to do so. A grand show, Barry!
A.B.A. Senior Championships. Here A. Halsey and B. Foster are still pressing towards Wembley again, and box in the next series at Exmouth against the Western Counties after convincing wins to become Midland County Champions. Jimmy Morris was not so fortunate, as he sustained a badly bruised eye in defeating K. H. Davidson of the Rolls Royce A.B.C. in the first series; this injury, however, resulted in Ernie Ball stopping his semi-final contest. Well done, Jimmy! The three stone you lost in the gym has been worthwhile, as I heard a fan say - "He is looking and boxing better than ever before" - better luck in your T. A. Championship bid.
The Tournament held at Thimblemill Baths on February 17th has been described as "The best in the Midlands for years," and as it was also a complete sell out, it resulted in a financial success in spite of the double tax and extra expenses.
Our schoolboys have engaged Dudley Secondary Modern schoolboys at Dudley in January, and in our Gymnasium during March; they also opposed a team at Wilmott Breeden's on March 5th. Total contests to date 173, of which our boxers have won 106.
Secretary : F. W. Humphries
The Annual General Meeting of the Bowls Club took place in the Dining Hall on Monday February 9th, and Mr. Peter D. Butler was in the Chair. Arthur Walker [pictured above], after 30 years service for the Club as Honorary Secretary, has found it necessary to resign, and Fred Humphries, last year's assistant Secretary, was elected to the position. In addition to this long service with his own Club, Arthur has served on the Management Committee of the Warwickshire and Worcestershire Bowls Association for 12 years, a position he still holds. He has also looked after the M&B Merit Competition since 1930, a job which few people would care to tackle. As well as all these administrative jobs, Arthur has been a keen and useful player, and we hope he will continue to give the section active support. In recognition of his great work over so many years, he was unanimously elected a Vice-President of the Club. Len Moore was elected Assistant Honorary Secretary and W. H. Evans replaced J. L. Collins as Junior Team Captain. Bill Bradley continues as Chairman and Albert Lake as Senior Team Captain. The Committee elected for 1953 was as follows: E. Cooke, G. Bromley, G. Lake, E. W. Long, F. Salt, H. Ward, G. Gurley, S. Hadley, F. Middleton, J. L. Collins, B. F. Morgan and H. Teague.
Since our last Bowls report the Club has suffered a loss in the death of one of its Vice-Presidents, Mr. W. E. Marston. Mr. Marston was a great sportsman and was Chairman of the Section for 25 years.
Secretary : F. C. Smith
The Section held its Annual General Meeting in the Dining Hall on Monday, 2nd March, and Mr. Maynard Mitchell was in the Chair. Bob Murrell was elected as captain of the Birmingham and District League First Team; this is the first time he has held this position and he is the youngest player ever elected to this office. Trevor Elias was elected as Vice-Captain. There were no changes in the other teams where Cedric Hickman and Gilbert Hackett for the Second Team, Ron Looms and Alan Boswell for the Business Houses First Team, and Jack Hearn and Stan Brown for the Second Business Houses were all re-elected. The Committee for 1953 was elected as follows: Messrs. G. T. Walker, G. Bullock, J. Goodwin, C. N. Newell, R. Stimpson and P. A. Reed. In recognition of his valuable service both as player and administrator Sidney Cox was elected as a Vice-President of the Club.
On Monday March 23rd the Section held its First Dinner at the Blue Gates Hotel. This is a new venture and replaces the Smoking Concert usually held at Portland Road. Mr. Maynard Mitchell was in the Chair and during the evening he presented the H. A. Butler trophy to Arthur Fletcher. Also presented were the special awards to Trevor Elias and Dean Johnston in recognition of their success in topping the Division Two Birmingham League Averages for Batting and Bowling respectively, and the Tankards to members of the Birmingham League Division Two championship side. Our new "Pro," Horace Hazell, attended the Dinner and team members took the opportunity of getting to know him. He is pictured above in action. We were pleased to welcome our old friends "Rusty" Scorer and Harry Clinton, President of the Birmingham League and Vice-President of the Business House League respectively. We were also pleased to welcome for the first time at one of our functions, Ken Spooner, the Honorary Secretary and Treasurer of the Birmingham League.
Secretary : P. Tresham
Finals Night was held in the Pavilion on Wednesday, March 11th, and some very entertaining Table Tennis was seen. It is very pleasing to note that Bob Gurley won the H.A.B. Trophy - the youngest team member ever to do so - congratulations Bob. Other winners were as follows: R. Murrell, Championship [Runner-up, F. Gross]. Our congratulations are due to Fred Gross for putting up such an excellent show in the final. W. Bouncer, Handicap Winner [Runner-up, R. Gurley]. C. Collinge and R. Gurley, Doubles Winners [Runners-up H. Lilley and G. Wenman]. Mr H. A. L. V. Mitchell again presented the prizes, and the catering, in the capable hands of Mr. Eyre, was excellent.
Secretary : G. Snape
At the time of writing our Division One team has shown a great improvement in form, winning several exciting matches, and are now occupying a position in the top half of the League Table. They will be playing our Trade Rivals, Messrs. Ansell's, in the Children's Hospital Cup at a date yet to be fixed. The second team is also doing well, and has reached the Final of the Nettlefolds Shield. Congratulations to J. Bell and G. Attwood, for very fine displays recently in their respective teams.
Secretary : W. J. Harper
Gardeners in general made good use of the exceptional spell of fine weather that lasted well into mid-March. Those with past experience of the deceits of an early spring were heard muttering something about "having to pay for this later on," but even they were bound to admit the Summer could not now be far behind. Young or old gardeners eventually learn how to make haste slowly when working with living plants in a living soil. What has been described elsewhere as the "virus of hustle" is the one pest over which we learn sooner or later to exercise complete control. Only the reckless would venture an opinion on what kind of a "season" we can expect, but all can hope that the results of cautious planning and hard work will give both satisfaction to gardeners and also full tables in the show tent. We hear that attempts are being made to put a "Coronation Trophy" for competition this year. We hope all our members and others too will support this effort and help to provide a prize of their own worthy of the increasingly high standard that is evident at our Annual Show. In case you didn't know - the date of this year's show is September 12th - make a note of it now!
Secretary : R. Clement
The Dramatic Society's Annual General Meeting will be held in the Pavilion on Monday, 4th May, at 6.30pm. Prior to the meeting, tea will be served and it is hoped to conclude the evening with a one-Act Play. All members are cordially invited to attend and help to make the evening a success.
The last play of the season at the Pavilion was "Dark Return," a well-produced psychological thriller, with a new twist about a madman who believed himself to be the reincarnation of the warped and scheming King Richard III [Crookback]. This type of play is an unusual one for the Dramatic Society, but the players rose to the occasion and were suitably dramatic and spine chilling. The play opened rather slowly and wordily, to establish the plot, but the players soon warmed up for the ensuing action and ably sustained an atmosphere of tension, holding one in the grip of villainy most dark and eerie. All the players were extremely convincing, and it would be invidious to single out one more than another. However, mention should be made of Betty McPherson, who is a valuable newcomer to the Society. It is also a pleasure to welcome back Florence Earle, in a small part. Micky Willetts must be complimented on his fine setting of the play.
Secretary : C. H. Long
The Lawn Tennis Annual General Meeting was held in the Dining Hall on Thursday, 12th March, with Mr. D. Davey Cole in the Chair. The meeting learned with regret that Mr. R. S. M. Harris, last year's Chairman of the Committee, was leaving the firm and so would be relinquishing his position as Chairman. Mr. Harris, in his year of office, had been a great worker, and he and his wife would be missed from the courts at Portland Road. The Secretary announced that Mr. W. S. Needham, who has been associated with the club for a good many years, is to present a Cup to the Section in memory of his wife Mrs. Needham, who was a very keen player, was the first lady to win the Ladies Handicap; and was very interested in all the activities of the Lawn Tennis Club. This year Mr. T. Powell becomes Honorary Treasurer and Mr. J. Wilson takes over the position of Match Secretary. The committee elected for 1953 was as follows: Messrs. S. Lathwood, T. Litherland, K. Peters, J. Waplington, W. Bouncer and Dr. Ault. The Annual Competitions will be held this year from 6th to 20th June.
Secretary : L. Hartmann
The Annual General Meeting of the Photographic Society was held in the Pavilion on Monday January 26th, when Mr. Lawrence Mitchell kindly consented to be the Chairman for the meeting. At the conclusion of the business there was an interval for light refreshments and at about 8.15pm the company was entertained to a show of cine films by Mr. Wallis W. Power, A.R.P.S., who is very well known throughout the Midlands and further afield still, for his films on Natural History. This evening he showed us three of his films: "The Atlantic Grey Seal," "Sea-Birds of Britain" and "Plant Life," using the Time Lapse method of recording their growth. The first showed us the breeding place of the grey seal. With many shots of the cows with their calves both on the beach and in the water - the close-up pictures were particularly interesting. The pictures of the sea birds taken on an island bird sanctuary of the coast of Pembrokeshire were very fine - gannets, kittiwakes, puffins, guillemots and many other sea birds, and finally some excellent shots of a pair of Peregrine Falcons with young. This was a colour film, and as one would expect from such a talented cinematographer as Mr. Power, the colour rendering was very good indeed. Perhaps the most remarkable of the three shown was his colour film of plants and flowers taken, using the time-lapse method, whereby we were able to see in a few moments the growth of a number of plants and flowers which actually took a matter of two to four weeks. We were shown pictures of the plant just breaking ground and its growth almost to maturity - with flowers appearing as buds, opening to full flowers and then drooping. This performance was well attended by members and friends, and was voted by everyone to have been a thoroughly interesting and entertaining evening.
For the February meeting we visited the Exhibition arranged by the Birmingham Photographic Society, when a most enjoyable evening was spent viewing the prints and transparencies, and later being entertained at a cine show given by their members.
The darkroom is now ready for use; the enlarger given to us by Mr. Lawrence Mitchell has been installed, and all we now require is equipment such as dishes, thermometers, print paddles, clips, printing frames, etc., and it has been suggested that to show the society's appreciation of all that has been done for us, those members who expect to use the darkroom would like to make a contribution towards the purchase of the necessary apparatus. The committee hope that this suggestion meets with general approval and that there will be a generous response.
Secretary : E. H. Cutts
The Swimming Section's Annual Dinner and Concert was held at the Blue Gates Hotel on Friday, 27th February, Mr. S. H. Cutts, the Club Chairman, presiding. The Dinner was very well attended, 130 members, their ladies and guests being present. The City of Birmingham Baths Committee was represented by Alderman J. Williams, Alderman H. J. Scambler and Councillor H. Small. The Annual General Meeting was held at Portland Road Pavilion on Thursday March 19th, with Mr. H. J. Cox in the chair. Freddie Gardiner took over the duties of Club Captain in succession to Jim Robinson, and Dennis Varley succeeded Freddie as Vice Captain. Owing to his leaving the district, Gordon Griffiths resigned as Section Treasurer, Gordon Morley being elected to fill the vacancy. On the Committee the only change was the election of Jim Tyler in place of Harry Wakeman, who had resigned.
In the above photograph, Mr. Walker senior, is being greeted by Mr. S. H. Cutts at the Swimming Dinner, while Mr. Harry Walker [second left] well-known Midlands sports broadcaster and a prominent official of the A.S.A. looks on.
Jim Robinson gave the meeting some idea of the difficulties of the Water Polo Team. Several of our best youngsters would not be available this season owing to the call of the Services [Frank Smith, our young star, is one of these], and in addition, such stalwarts as Dennis Varley and Barry Ravenscroft would not be available. To offset these losses the section has managed to obtain the services of two experienced players in Alan Cemm and Ray Harding, who will be well known to most of our Club members.
Congratulations were extended to Frank Smith on winning both the J. H. Greenaway Cup and the Savage V. C. Memorial Trophy. The section wished him the best of luck in his coming Service period. Congratulations were also extended to veteran Bill Findlay on winning the All-Round Championship for the Henry A. Butler Trophy. Mr. H. J. Cox presented the prizes during the evening and the entertainment organised by Fred Smith was enjoyed by all.
On Friday, February 13th, the Social Club held the first Snooker and Billiards Handicap Final of the season. In the Snooker Final Sid Lunn was successful in beating Howard Lilley by two frames to nil. The Billiards Final between Ray Weston and Jack King was extremely interesting. The match was ding-dong all the way and Ray eventually ran out the winner by 200 to 195. In the Cribbage Final Bob Crum had a very hard fight with Ray Rudge, winning in the 3rd game in a match that could have gone either way.
At the time of writing we have commenced our second Handicap and by the time you read these notes, the results will be known and the prizes will have been presented at our Annual General Meeting. Our Members' Monthly Dances have continued to be very popular, dances being held on 21st January, 21st February and April 4th.
Long Service Awards
M&B Long service awards were presented by Mr. Davey Cole to fifteen employees with 40 years service and to thirty employees [including two from Highgate Brewery] with 25 years service.