Last September members were treated to a very pleasant and instructive evening when Trudy and her mother gave a demonstration on Flower Arranging. Trudy used some most unusual plants such as Kentia Leaves, Bells of Ireland, Panicum Fountain, Nuns Delight, which, together with the more familiar Asters, Camomile, Carnations and Alstroemeria made for some very interesting displays. At the end of the evening all the arrangements were raffled with some lucky members being able to take them home.
At the October meeting, Mr. Trevor Mitchell, Manager of the Epsom Playhouse for the last 16 years gave a most interesting insight into life at the “front of the house”. His career began way back on Black and White TV when he was a child star performing in the Timex Watch commercial. Some of his past highlights were his association with productions at the Old Vic with such iconic figures as Sir Laurence Olivier, Derek Jacobi, Hermione Gingold.
After a time in Moscow with the Kiev Ballet, he brought the Bolshoi and Kiev Ballet Companies over here to Covent Garden. All these experiences prepared him to manage the Epsom Playhouse successfully by bringing in a very varied programme ranging from Opera, Ballet, Pantomime, amateur and professional productions and the Epsom Symphony and Surrey Philomonic Orchestras.
In November, Barbara Stevens visited us again and gave a talk on the changes taking place in her village of Downe with its 13th century church. The most distinguished resident being Charles Darwin.
There used to be 20 shops in Downe ranging from the Bakers with its cottage loaf, etc, the Butchers where carcasses were hanging outside the shop, the Bootmaker, Draper, Post Office, Saddlers, Estate Agents, Grocers Ironmongers, a clock and watch Maker, plus Shell and Esso Garages.
There was a row of 6 cottages where they had 1 tap and 2 water closets between them.Some of these cottages housed families up to 11 children!
Sadly in the 60's, as was the trend in those days, they were all demolished. One lady who was transferred to a pre-fab thought she was living in the lap of luxury with having running water at the turn of a tap.
The oldest house in the village was built in 1416 and they still have two 15th century Pubs.
One intrepid lady, Olive Willis, bought Downe House and establshed a School and Gymnasium and was first President of the local W.I. With 41 members. She had come from being educated at Roedean through to Somerville College, Oxford, on the way doing the "London Season" as debutante. We also had a very successful Sales Table where members were able to purchase Christmas gifts for family and friends.
The Guild meets on the first Wednesday of the month at St. Marks Church Hall, Great Tattenham at 8 o'clock. All are welcome.