Weekend: Time Tunnel

Coventry Evening Telegraph (England), October 26, 2002 | Go to article overview

Weekend: Time Tunnel


Byline: DAVID McGRORY looks back to a summer's afternoon at Radford House

Stirring memories of a summer garden party

ON SATURDAY, June 27, 1908, 430 members of the office and works staff of Rudge-Whitworth cycle company left the factory in Crow Lane, off Spon Street and formed a procession "of men, women, girls and boys on foot, in taxicabs, in hansoms, etc, who wended their way towards Radford".

These chosen few were to be guests of chairman and managing director of Rudge, Mr C Vernon Pugh and his wife.

Their home, since about 1899, had been Radford House, a beautiful country residence, filled with antique furniture and oak panelled rooms.

As the crowds entered the south lawn they were all personally greeted by the couple and their respective departmental managers.

The Coventry Military Band played all afternoon in the garden, while in the corner of The Paddock in a marquee refreshments, including vast amounts of strawberries and cream were served by a large and enthusiastic staff of waitresses. Later on the south lawn Mr Robins-Piercy's Concert Party entertained on a stage.

It was reported that many "were holding their sides" while some "laughed till they cried".

Afterwards a cycle gymkhana was held on the large lawn, said to be much fun and that that it would be remembered forever, especially the "splendid exhibition" of riding given by the young ladies in the potato race.

One race, called the tortoise or slow Race, involved the last past the winning post being the winner.

Described as not very exciting, those who stopped in their endeavour to go slow were out.

The event of the day was said to have been musical chairs on bikes. This "caused peals of laughter".

The game proceeded until only Miss B Mealand and Miss F Skinner from the works directors department remained.

The crowd watched as the music stopped mid-bar and the two rushed for the chair: "Miss Mealand landed, but she suffered as Miss Skinner came down with a mighty drop and sat on her knees."

The afternoon concluded with more refreshments followed by even more strawberries and cream.

The band played the national anthem and a jolly afternoon at Radford House came to an end. …

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