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British Heritage: December/January 1996/1997 Letters

Originally published by British Heritage magazine. Published Online: September 23, 1997 
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MAID OF KENT
I was very interested in Robert Flower of Washington, whose letter on Dunkirk (February/March 1996, page 6) bought backmany memories. I am a 'maid of Kent,' born in Broadstairs in 1920. Robert, I'm sure, is a 'man of Kent.'

My brother was picked up from the beaches and brought back on the Royal Daffodil and landed at Margate. I'm sure he willremember these paddle steamers, which before the war travelled between London and France with holiday-makers. Mybrother had been on this boat many times in peacetime.

Mr. Flower may be interested to know that on the 50th anniversary of the evacuation, I sailed from Ramsgate on theWaverley to meet the little fleet of ships and small boats that took part in the anniversary events. We all landed back onRamsgate to tremendous celebrations. Thousands of people lined the harbour, with flags waving and guns firing. It wascertainly a day to remember. I wish he could have been there.

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Kathleen J. Abbey
Bristol, England

GOOD EVENING, ENGLAND
In the 1940s when I was in England, a gentleman named Gillie Potter had a weekly spot on the BBC where he would give hisviews on some timely subject. He spoke with an exaggerated Oxford accent and opened with the words 'Good evening,England, this is Gillie Potter speaking to you in English.' He would then expound on the topic of the day for 10 to 15 minutesusing only words of 4 to 6 syllables.

Do any of your readers recall this gentleman? I wonder if these lectures were ever published in book form?

John T. Butler
Fort Myers, Florida

WHERE, OH WHERE, HAS SEZINCOTE GONE?
Ever since reading the June/July issue, I have impatiently awaited the arrival of the August/September edition.

It came today, but the promised story of the Moghul-style building 'inspired by the architecture of the Royal Pavilion inBrighton' was not there. I had been hoping it would be the building that we found in the Cotswolds last August, obviously aclone of the Royal Pavilion, now–so we were told–owned by non-resident Arabs. We saw it across a field, as we stood by achurchyard wall.

Ever since, I have been wanting to know more about this house–and I thought you were going to tell me. If I had looked morecarefully at the picture on page 72 of the previous issue, I should have realized that the building depicted therein is eitherSezincote or an exact copy thereof. (We went there last year, too, as participants in the 1995 Oxford Study Tour under thedirection of Rosemary Flanders and Dr. Gerard Vaughan. Mrs. David Peake, the owner, came from London to show us theinterior. Actually, Sezincote was the inspiration for the Royal Pavilion, the Prince Regent having visited there in 1806.)

Was it Sezincote which was to have been featured in the current issue of British Heritage or could it possibly have beenToddington Manor? If not Toddington Manor, could you possibly arrange to have a story on it at some time in the future?

Mrs. Harold L. Timmerman
North Augusta, South Carolina

Editor's note: Sezincote it was. We shelved plans to publish the article after the owners of the house informed us thatthey did not want it to be publicized, as they did not feel they were prepared to handle large numbers of visitors. Weregretted not being able to deliver on our promise to tell readers the story behind this interesting house, but felt thatwe should honour the wishes of the people who live there. We are sorry for any disappointment our decision may haveled to, but we have no shortage of similar articles about Britain's historic homes already in the works. See page 52 ofthis issue for the story behind one of the most extravagant of all, Penrhyn Castle.

We have no immediate plans to feature Toddington Manor, but will surely consider it for the future.

WEDDING FEAST
It was lovely to read the article on fish and chips (October/November 1996, page 20). I guess everyone thinks that fish andchips from their own area are the best. I come from Bolton, Lancs, about 45 miles from Fleetwood, a former large fishing porton the Irish Sea.

I don't think the southern chip shops sell peas with the fish and chips but 'up in the north,' ours sold mushy peas andoccasionally butter beans. We had two chips shops near our home but my mother preferred one over the other. The ownerswore snow-white coat aprons with a wrap-around apron over that. They were starched and clean every day.

I will always associate fish and chips with my wedding, on a cold day in February near the end of the War. My husband-to-bewas an RAF radio instructor stationed in the town. I wore a second-hand wedding dress, because we lacked the rationcoupons needed to make or buy a new one. The bridesmaids dresses were also used. My wedding ring was 'utility,' made of9-carat gold. None were made of 14- or 18-carat gold during the war. Rollers to curl the hair had not been invented, so I gotup with my hair rolled in "rags."

When the in-laws arrived from out of town, I was sent to the 'chippie', rags in my hair and all, to buy peas, chips, and fish foreight people. Each order cost 1d. each for chips, 1d. for peas, and 2d. for the fish. That was in the days when there were240d. in each pound. After we had eaten, I went upstairs and did my own hair. There were one or two cars to take parents,two bridesmaids and me to the church. Everyone else had to make their own way, as there was no petrol and no one had cars.We did have a sit down meal afterwards, probably at the government fixed price of 5 shillings per head, and my mother hadsaved dried fruits, etc. from our rations, plus a few things bought through the kindness of our grocers (black market), for thewedding cake.

Joan M. Sullivan
Montgomery, Alabama

THREE MEN IN A BOAT
In the back-order issue of British Heritage I received today (October/November 1995), there's a letter from a Mr. WilliamA. Nanny of Charlotte, South Carolina, who wants to know if anyone carries a copy of the film, Three Men in a Boat. It can be purchased from: Movies Unlimited, 6736 Castor Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19149, Tel: 800-4-MOVIES (Item#09-2241, $24.99.) The 1956 film starred Laurence Harvey and Jill Ireland and is 85 minutes in duration.

Brunilda Laurenzi
Aliquippa, Pennsylvania

Editor's Note: We'd like to thank Brunilda and all our readers who respond to reader queries via our Letter-Boxpages. Your insights and advice are greatly appreciated by us at the magazine as well as, we are sure, by all ourreaders whose questions you have helped to answer.

SIR FITZROY
As you may know by now, your article in the current issue (August/September, page 14) on the Creggans Inn sadly coincidedwith the death of the innkeeper, Sir Fitzroy MacLean.

The article reminded me, of a splendidly sumptuous luncheon I enjoyed at the Creggans Inn in May 1995, while thephotograph reproduced to illustrate the article will now also serve as the illustration of my diary entry for that date in my lastyear's travel journal.

The article also sent me to my bookshelves to retrieve and re-read Sir Fitzroy's admirable biography of the Bonnie Prince,Charles Edward Stuart, as well as his more recent, scholarly history called, simply and evocatively, Highlanders.

You are no doubt familiar with McLean's exploits as a commando leader in the Second World War and of his activities insupport of Marshall Tito's Yugoslav partisan forces in that conflict. I may have a very tenuous link with that part of the FitzroyMcLean story as I believe it was the Royal Air Force squadron with which I flew that parachuted McLean into Yugoslavia in1943.

I had hoped to meet the great warrior and patriot on his home territory. Sadly, however, he was not on the premises the day Ilunched at the Creggans Inn. I did pay my respects by proxy, as it were, by leaving a message with the duty manager in thedining-room.

Thank you for helping bring these memories to mind and for reinforcing my resolve to return to the shores of Loch Fyneanother time.

William Weighton
Victoria, British Columbia

CORRECTION

In our August/September issue (page 19), we misprinted the telephone number of Prestige Tours. The correct number is800-890-7375. We apologize for the error.

 

 


The British telephone numbers provided in British Heritage include an initial zero, which callers from North America do not need to dial when placing a call to Britain. North American callers should dial 011-44 in place of the initial zero. When travelling in Britain, dial the telephone numbers exactly as printed.Please note that all prices quoted in editorial material are correct to the best of our knowledge. We suggest readers call ahead before visiting stately homes, etc., to ensure they have up-to-date details.



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