Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Garden Fete for Hospital Supply Depot

Bruce Bairnsfather, cartoonist [Wikimedia]

Thursday 7th September 1916: A garden fete was held today at ‘Harcourt’ in Linslade to raise funds for the Leighton War Hospital Supply Depot. The workers at the depot have been hard at work supplying war orders for the past six months, and have even subscribed towards the cost of materials. Sir Edward Oswald Every kindly allowed the use of his grounds for the stalls and attractions. By 6pm over a thousand people had paid for admission with the lucky five hundredth entrant, Trooper Frank Conquest of Soulbury, winning a watch. The success of the fete was helped by the fine weather.

There was an extensive programme of events. A particularly popular feature was a sketching exhibition by artist Captain Bruce Bairnsfather, famous for his humourous cartoons of trench life; three sketches were donated to be auctioned or raffled in aid of the Supply Depot fund. Other attractions included performances by Lieutenant Brent Smith, a well-known pianist, and Australian soprano Miss Thelma Peterson, a demonstration of bird whistling by a Belgian Army officer, and war stories from Mr. W. V. Robinson, a Canadian entertainer. In the evening there was entertainment from the Dunstable Dazzlers, and the band of the Royal Engineers played during the afternoon and evening.

Stalls included a jam stall, a soldiers’ comforts stall, fruit and flowers, an art stall with sketches and hand painted postcards, and a depot stall which displayed some of the articles made at the depot such as bandages, jackets, slippers, bed rests and crutches. A variety of competitions were held, ranging from assegai throwing to identifying photographs of celebrities, along with the more usual coconut shies and hoop-la. Children enjoyed pony and donkey rides, a sweet stall, a roulette game in which everyone received a prize, and rides in a goat chaise. During the evening an auction gift sale raised around £45 from 86 lots, with 70 shillings paid for one fat sheep. Other items for sale included an umbrella stand, a violin, grapes, tennis balls, a fox skin muff and some guinea pigs.

Source: Leighton Buzzard Observer, 12th September 1916

No comments:

Post a Comment