The visit by King George V to Chilton in October 1912 was a very important event in the area. The local press combined to produce a detailed and comprehensive report of the events of the week. The Wilts, Berks and Hants County Paper and Marlborough Times produced reports on 25 Oct and 1 Nov 1912.
A single broadsheet of the combined reports was reproduced by Hungerford Printing Works, and Peter Moon, who previously worked at the Printing Works, kindly gave a copy to the HHA in Jun 2016.
The text of these reports is reproduced here.
The King's Visit to Chilton
Hungerford's Hearty Reception
A Transformed Borough
Ancient Customs Recalled
The Berkshire border town of Hungerford noted for its time-honoured customs and the privileges bestowed upon it, by royalty in the past, has received fresh honour; it has been afforded an opportunity of welcoming his Majesty the King, an honour its inhabitants did not fail to appreciate and which they shewed, by their enthusiasm and self-sacrificing energies, displayed in the arrangements for the royal visit, that they were justly entitled to.
Hungerford is fortunate in having as its near neighbours the Hon John and Mrs Ward, for it was the occasion of a visit to Chilton, to spend a few days' shooting, as the guest of the distinguished holders of this fine estate, that gave Hungerfordians the opportunity of welcoming His Majesty to the ancient borough. The privilege of welcoming royalty would have been afforded the people of Hungerford a year of two earlier, but for the of lamented death of King Edward, arrangements for whose visit to Chilton on a similar errand were being made when the nation was thrown into mourning by his decease.
Hungerford was proud of the opportunity of giving practical proof of their loyalty so often acclaimed in connection with the ancient customs which have made the borough world famous, and the inhabitants rose to the occasion with zeal and enthusiasm. Although his Majesty's visit was of a purely private nature, the inhabitants sought an opportunity of testifying to the fact that the loyalty displayed by their ancestors exists in no diminished degree in the present generation, and the fact that his Majesty intended to travel to Hungerford by train and would pass through the streets of the town to Chilton, afforded this opportunity. The King's plans settled, steps were immediately taken to accord his Majesty a right royal welcome. A representative general committee was appointed and a fund speedily raised to bear the cost of decorating and illuminating the town, with the result that a scheme was evolved which will be long remembered by those fortunate enough to see it, and while the rain during the evening considerably interfered with the illuminations, there was on every hand evidence of the whole-hearted manner in which the residents had entered, into the spirit of welcome.
For days prior to Monday, the day of the King's visit, committees had been at work erecting the various devices which were to transform the borough and give to his Majesty practical proof of the affection which his subjects of Hungerford have for him, for the town has never presented such a brilliant spectacle, despite the wet, as it did on this occasion.
Throughout Monday Hungerfordians were busy putting the finishing touches to the scheme and as the evening advanced the up and down trains brought large contingents of visitors who had come to participate in Hungerford's welcome to the Reigning Sovereign, with the result that by seven o'clock the streets were filled with people taking up various points of vantage from which to see his Majesty as he passed through. Punctually to the minute the royal train ran into the station, and in less than five minutes after his Majesty was the central figure of a crowd of loyal subjects, whose enthusiasm brought them all round the car, as it proceeded at little more than a walking pace through the town, the church bells ringing a merry peal. It is such instances as this which shew more clearly than anything else, the devotion which the English people have towards their Sovereign. Here, indeed, was a King among his people. There was no great display of bodyguard, no lining the route with soldiers; his Majesty, as the First Gentleman in England, proceeded through the town as such, and was thus acclaimed. The King was obviously impressed with the warmth of his reception and smilingly acknowledged the cheers of the crowd, who closed round the car and followed it, while waving hats and handkerchiefs, until the limits of the town were reached. The only formal incident in the procession through the town was the salute of the Fire Brigade, who stood at attention at the corner of Bridge Street and Charnham Street. As the car passed into Charnham Street, the crowd stationed here burst into cheering, which further stimulated those who had followed the King through the town. It was thus his Majesty traversed the main streets of the borough, and as the car passed under the electrically illuminated arch, symbolical of Hungerford’s chief industry, and passed at a quicker rate along the Chilton road, his Majesty must have been impressed with the extreme cordiality of his reception, for the town had done credit, not only to its King, but to the honourable traditions which has made the borough renowned.
Arrived at Chilton, his Majesty witnessed a further demonstration. He was greeted by the villagers, who turned out in force. The car passed under an arch erected at the bridge, and the drive through the park to the mansion was lighted by 200 torch-bearers.
It would be an invidious task to apportion praise to individuals, responsible for carrying out the general scheme of Hungerford’s display, but mention might well be made of Mr J C Adnams, the Constable, who was the inspiring genius, and of Mr H D’o W Astley (the Steward of the Manor) or, as he is more generally called, the Town Clerk, and it is a matter of considerable gratification to the town generally that these two officials, should have been presented to the King, while general satisfaction is expressed at the fact that the opportunity was taken of bringing into prominence the ancient customs of the borough – in the picturesque incident of presenting his Majesty with a Lancastrian red rose, and of providing his Majesty with a dish of Kennet trout. The rose presented to the King was from the garden of Mr George Platt, one of the Feoffees, who, with former members of the family, has always associated himself with all that makes for the welfare of the borough.
It should be mentioned that in the course of the afternoon Mr Beal’s dog “Bruce” from Swindon, paraded the town on his interesting mission of collecting for the hospital.
Accompanying the King in his car on Monday evening were the Hon John Ward, Colonel Sir Frederick Ponsonby, and Sir Charles Cust, RN.
His Majesty enjoyed capital sport, and on the first day, when the guns included the Earl of Ilchester, Lord Herbert, Lord Wolverton, Sir Frederick Ponsonby, Sir Charles Cust, and Captain the Hon Richard Molyneaux, the bag consisted of 234 brace of partridges, 160 hares, and 107 pheasants. A start was made at ten o’clock, and Mrs Ward and the other ladies of the party joined them at lunch at Farnborough.
The King’s Arrival
From six o’clock onwards the town became particularly animated, crowds thronging the streets in keen anticipation of seeing his Majesty, and of taking part in the great welcome which Hungerford was shortly to give the first reigning Sovereign who had ever visited the ancient borough. Whilte the greater number remained in the High Street, principally that portion from Park Street to the Canal Bridge, others, anxious to get an earlier glimpse of his Majesty, took up positions in Park Street, and as near to the Station as they were permitted. Only a privileged few were allowed admission to the platform. These included, in addition to the Hon John Ward, the Constable of Hungerford (Mr J C Adnams), the Steward of the Manor (Mr H D’o W Astley), the Feoffees, Police and Railway officials, and notably the Chief Constable of Berkshire (Major Poulton), Superintendent Gamble (Berks Constabulary), Detective-Inspector Plumb, of the GWR Detective Staff; Mr S Morris (Divisional Superintendent of the GWR) who, with Mr F E Hunt (the Stationmaster at Hungerford), was in charge of the local arrangements; Mr J H Dore (Permanent Way official), etc. The Feoffees, or Trustees, as these gentlemen have come to be known, in recent years, were as follows:- Dr H P Major, Dr L H Barker, Mr A E Allright, Mr George E Platt, Mr G Wren, Mr J Wooldridge, Mr J Alexander, Mr T W Alexander, Mr L H Beard, Mr F W Church, Mr R R Earle, and Mr W Mapson.
The earlier movements of the King, who in the forenoon was accompanied by the Queen, are of interest. Their Majesties, accompanied by Princess Mary, arrived at St Pancras from Sandringham on Monday, shortly after noon. Their Majesties were looking in excellent health. The Queen was in a blue costume, and the King wore a dark grey overcoat and bowler hat. On the platform they were received by Sir F Green, director of the Great Eastern Railway, Mr Hyde, the general manager, and other officials. Presentations were made, and their Majesties cordially shook hands with several people on alighting from their special train. They drive to Buckingham Palace in a pair-horsed carriage, followed by the Duke and Duchess of Teck in a second carriage.
His Majesty attended a meeting of the Privy Council, and signed a proclamation of neutrality concerning the Balkan War, and after receiving an Indian Prince, left the Palace at 5.40, for Paddington, en route for Hungerford. At the Great Western Station, his Majesty was received, on behalf of the company, by Viscount Churchill (chairman), Mr Frank Potter (general manager), and other officials. The royal special train left Paddington at 6.5pm.
Attending his Majesty were: Commander Sir Charles Cust, Bart, RN, and Lieut-Colonel Sir Frederick Ponsonby, while also on the train were Mr Frank Potter, Mr J B Williams (Assistant Superintendent of the Line), Mr J Dunster (Superintendent London Division), Mr John Armstrong (Locomotivce Superintendent, who rode on the engine), Mr Waister (Locomotive Superintendent, Swindon), Chief-Inspectors Pike and Thomas, and Detective-Inspector Matthews.
The magnificent royal train, consisting of four first-class coaches, and the royal saloon, and drawn by the powerful engine, “King James”, bearing on its side the Rioyal Coat of Arms, glided into the station at the appointed time, and so punctual was the arrival that the Town Hall clock was chiming the quarter when his Majesty stepped on to the platform. He was received by the Hon John Ward, with whom he shook hands, and, bowing to the line of Feoffees, many of whom wore the symbolic red rose, moved towards the gangway. The Hon John Ward then presented the Constable to the King and while shaking hands with Mr Adnams, his Majesty remarked, “An interesting old town, yours.”
Presentation of the Red Rose
Then followed an interesting ceremony, providing a link with Hungerford’s interesting past. According to ancient tradition, it is incumbent upon Hungerford, having at one time formed part of the Duchy of Lancaster, to present a Lancastrian red rose to the Reigning Monarch, whenever visiting or passing through thee town, and the Constable, addressing the King said:- “May I present your Majesty with a Lancastrian red rose, emblematic of the fact that Hungerford formerly formed part of the Duchy of Lancaster.” The King smilingly accepted the tribute, remarking: “It is a nice old custom.”
Mr Astley was then presented, and his Majesty, after shaking hands with the Chief Constable of Berks, passed through the decorated gangway to the motor-car, which conveyed him to Chilton, the King’s appearance outside the station being the signal for the band, who played the National Anthem, and as the car was driven slowly away, the cheers of the people mingled with the strains of the familiar air.
The proceedings at the station occupied less than two minutes, but they were characterised by a grace and precision which will be long remembered by those privileged to see them, there being not the slightest hitch – a tribute alike to the charming personality of his Majesty and the perfect organisation of the Railway Company.
As the royal car proceeded slowly through the town, the public were afforded an excellent opportunity of seeing the King, who bowed his acknowledgement of the cheers which greeted him right along the brilliantly illuminated route.
Unfortunately, the weather was most unfavourable, but, despite this fact, his Majesty did not fail to shew his appreciation of the wonderful scheme of illumination which had been erected in his honour, and of the extreme cordiality of his reception by the thousands who had gathered to welcome their Sovereign to the Berkshire border town.
At Chilton, torch bearers lined the carriage drive to the house.
The Decorations and Illuminations
The visit of King George was the first visit of a reigning Sovereign to Hungerford, certainly in the memory of the oldest inhabitant, and marks an interesting point in the annals of the town’s history. It is, therefore, not surprising that the townspeople rose to the occasion, determined to shew that the loyalty for which the ancient borough has been distinguished in the past, not only exists, but, if possible, that time and the affection which we English people have for our ruling heads, has stimulated that spirit. Certain it is that never before has Hungerford extended such a royal welcome as was the case on Monday, and if the comprehensive and elaborate scheme of decoration and illumination is to be regarded as the outward sign of the esteem in which the Royal Family is held by Hungerfordians, his Majesty may be assured that he has no more loyal or devoted subjects that those to be found in this borough of ancient customs and privileges. For some considerable time, as soon, in fact, as it became definitely known that the King was coming, committees were appointed to carry out the details of decoration, appeals were made for funds for this purpose, and so cordial was the response that the committee was enabled to evolve a scheme which will long be remembered as of great credit to the town.
The General Scheme
The general scheme, viz. that for which the committee was responsible, although this was by no means the extent of the decorative treatment the town received, was one of considerable beauty and attractiveness. From the top of Park Street, where the Railway Company’s efforts ended, up to the limits of the town, namely, the end of Charnham Street, near the road leading to Chilton, was one concise design, which, when the King proceeded through the town, in the evening, resembled an illuminated avenue, and which, for general effectiveness, it would be difficult to surpass. Leaving, for a moment, the treatment of the railway station and approach, one’s attention on the line of route was attracted by the display of the County Police Station, on one side of the Station Road, and of “Rossmore”, the residence of Mr T Levy, on the other. Inspector Randall, who, despite the fact that he was on the sick list, superintended the work here and his staff, particularly PC Kimber, who was especially entrusted with the carrying out of the scheme, caught something of the enthusiasm which their chief displayed, with the result that a scheme of much effectiveness was portrayed. From the entrance gate to the two porches of the building, lines of Japanese lanterns cast their mellow glow over the well-kept garden, leading up to a very fine adornment of the building itself. Here trophies were used to admirable advantage, while an illuminated crown formed an appropriate centrepiece to the scheme of illumination with which the front of the station was treated. The Union Jack, hoisted on a specially erected flag-staff, added a further appropriate touch to the work, and Inspector Randall and his assistants are to be congratulated upon the effect produced. Fairy lights were artistically displayed on Mr Levy’s residence, thus relieving this corner, and from this point his Majesty traversed an illuminated vista, for the committee had erected Venetian masts on either side of the roadway, right to the end of the town. These masts were placed in huge barrels, which were covered with tri-coloured paper and surmounted with greenery, making a picturesque base for the superstructure. From the masts festoons of flowers, with double lines of fairy lights, were artistically arranged, while the masts themselves were relieved by appropriate trophies. Near the bottom of Park Street in a smith’s yard at the side was an illuminative device “God save the King and speed the plough”. As his Majesty turned the corner of Park Street, into High Street, he passed under a triumphal arch, surmounted by a huge crown, and the Hungerford arms, while the arch itself bore the expression as to the cordiality of which the King could have had no possible doubt, “Hungerford Greets You!”, the King’s initials being also prominently displayed. This motto, in white letters on a blue background, stood out very effectively. On the obverse side, in red letters on a white back, were the words “We will not forget”, a gratifying intimation which will meet his Majesty’s eye on his return. Here also, one in either corner, were the letters “G.R.”. The impression one must already have obtained of the beauty of the decorative scheme was intensified upon emerging into the High Street, for here a scheme of exceptional beauty was revealed. Stretching away down the fine old High Street, which, with its width, makes a fine object for decorative treatment, was a scene of much artistic beauty. The street was a blaze of colour, by day and by night, and it is difficult to say whether the scheme was seen at its best – in the light of day, when the garlands, pennants, trophies, and devices of greenery, with gay-coloured bunting and thousands of flags, were visible, imparting a vivid colour scheme, or when the shades of night had fallen and the lines of light and the picturesque outline of the houses shed their gentle glow upon the royal route. To have fully appreciated the work one ought to have seen it on both occasions. Unfortunately, those who did not have an opportunity of witnessing the complete scheme earlier in the day can have no idea of what the work really was – of the multitudinous number of details which were carefully worked out, and the general effect, for scarcely had the King traversed the route than a perfect deluge descended on the scene, extinguishing the greater portion of the lights. Proceeding from Park Street corner towards Charnham Street, the King passed under the railway bridge, the decorative treatment of which was one of the gems of the scheme. This work the Railway Company had undertaken, and those who know the bridge in its ordinary every-day garb had difficulty in distinguishing it from the majestic-looking structure which spanned the street in the centre of the town on Monday. The sides had been completely covered with dark red cloth, outlines with gold fringe, and relieved by fringe festoons and trophies.
An Artistic Scheme
From this point there came into view what was certainly the most artistic piece of the scheme. This was the treatment of the bridge across the canal. There were five arches erected here and a remarkably effective decorative feature was presented. These were, of course, connected, as indeed were all the arches and the Venetian masts, by garlands and pennants, and made a central attraction in the continuous lines of illumination. The first of the five arches was of light and artistic construction. The arch was of lattice work, intertwined around which was evergreens with fairy lights peeping out from the foliage and a number of Japanese lanterns used with excellent effect underneath.
“God Bless Your Majesty” was the message of the second arch strikingly prominent in white letters on a red background, while surmounting the whole, rising to a fine superstructure, was the familiar half-moon symbolical of Hungerford’s official life. On the obverse side the spirit of Hungerford’s loyalty was further emphasised in the motto “For King and Country”. A change was apparent in the construction of the third arch, but here, again, the artist’s skill was manifest. This was the arch on the crown of the bridge, and, rising higher than the rest, was appropriately adorned with an illuminated crown as its superstructure. Ant ten, to correspond with the second arch, on the other side of the bridge was the fourth arch with its good wishes. “God bless your Majesty” were the words here, with the expression of the hope in everyone’s mind, “Long live to reign over us”, as the wording on the obverse side. The last of this picturesque series of arches was neat string of laurel wreaths and lanterns. The arches, which were generally commented upon, were designed by Mr Cambourn, who superintended their erection.
“Loyal Labour” – A unique feature
As a grand finale to the decorative scheme was a novel arch places at the end of the town near the Chilton turning. This was a work representative of the industry of the neighbourhood – agriculture, and was admirably designed and effectively carried out. Messrs H Gibbons and Sons Ltd were responsible for the construction of this, the only arch erected at private expense. It consisted of two elevators, ploughs and agricultural implements, with flags rising from sheaves of wheat placed at the top, wile streamers of straw trailed down either side. “Loyal Labour” were the words on one side of the arch, and “Industry” was the word on the other side. A seed machine, turnip pulper and water barrel were among the agricultural implements placed at the base. It was every effective piece of work, and was, of course, seen at its best when lighted by 150 electric globes, each of 16 candle power, the illuminant being generated by a special plant erected on a 60hp Daimler chassis. At this point ended the scheme for which the committee were responsible. And now to deal with the efforts of others.
The Railway Station
The Great Western Railway Company were fully alive to the occasion, and undertook an elaborate decoration of the railway station, the approach thereto, and the bridge already referred to, this work being carried out under the supervision of Mr F Weller (of the Company’s Decorating Department). The station was completely transformed. Special attention was, of course, directed upon the effective adornment of the platform and buildings on the down line, this being the point at which the King alighted, but the waiting-room and platform on the other side were not overlooked, while the over-bridge was very effectively treated. Trophies and shields were extensively used here and these, with a liberal use of bunting and flags, made a very picturesque treatment. The walls of the offices and waiting rooms on the main building were covered with crimson cloth, heavily fringed with gold, while from the verandah small flags and shields were effectively displayed. A specially improvised gangway, through which his Majesty passed to his motor car was arranged, the commodious booking hall being screened off for the purpose. The Royal Coat of Arms occupied a prominent position over the door, while other devices were picturesquely arranged. The platform was covered with a Royal carpet of the familiar fleur-de-lys pattern. An interesting feature of the decorations here was the inclusion of American flags, Mrs Ward (the King’s hostess at Chilton) being a daughter of the American Ambassador. The front of the station buildings was also admirably treated, and even the chimneys had not escaped adornment. The same scheme as that adopted by the committee for the decoration of the route through the town, viz, festoons from Venetian masts, was employed in the embellishment of the station approach, while at the end of this, before the turning into Park Street, additional colour was added to the scheme by the way in which Mr Alfred Smallbones had decorated the Railway Tavern and Messrs Alexander Bros had treated their offices and yard on the opposite side of the approach.
The Private Decorations
The central feature of the adornment of Messrs Alexander Bros’ offices was a large illuminated crown and the letters “G.R.” while the windows were outlined with lights. Mr Alexander had erected a special platform for his friends, and from this point of vantage a fine sight of the King’s arrival was secured. At the top of the station approach, just at the turning into Park Street, was a triumphal arch, bearing the word “Welcome” with “God save the King” on the obverse side, the whole surmounted with the Hungerford coat of arms. The treatment of Park Street has already been commented upon as part of the general scheme, but there were many features in High Street, that should be mentioned. For instance, although not on the line of route taken by his Majesty, there were several private and business premises in the upper part of the street which had been admirably adorned, among them the residences of Dr L W Barker, Dr Major, Mr McKerlie, Mr Newhook’s school house, Mr A W Neate’s offices, Mr Clifford’s business premises and Mr Mapson’s establishment, where a crown and the royal letters were among the attractive features. One of the most effective of the private decorative schemes was that employed by the Constable in the embellishment of his residence and business premises. Mr Adnams had adopted an illuminated scheme, and the pleasing effect was seen later in the evening. On the roof was a crown and trophies, while shields, a crown and the letters “G” and “M” adorned the front, and the Hungerford coat of arms was placed over the doors. The whole of the front of the premises, including the porch-ways, and windows was outlined with fairy lights. It was an excellent lead for Hungerford’s chief citizen to give to his fellow townsmen, and they followed it. The business premises of Messrs T Alexander and Son were also remarkably well treated, fairy lights and trophies being largely used here, while the “Craven Arms”, “The Plume of Feathers”, Mr Bodman’s premises, the London and Provincial Stores and Mr G Wren’s establishment, the latter artistically treated with fairy lights and trophies, had also received careful attention. American flags were interesting features of the adornment of the Crown Brewery premises, upon which Mr Crook had evidently bestowed much care, while on the opposite side of the road, “the Three Swans” presented a very attractive appearance. The windows were topped with violet draping fringed with gold: trophies and the letters “G.R.” were also utilised and the general effect was very pleasing.
The Town Hall: A Fine Scheme.
The Feoffees are to be complimented upon the adornment of Hungerford’s central building, for probably the Town Hall has never looked so well. Considerable trouble and no little expense must have been involved in the treatment of this extensive building, and the effect was of a very gratifying character. This work was carried out by Mr Bartholomew. Rising from the roof of the building dominating, as it were, the whole proceedings, was a large crown, outlined with fairy lights, with other effective devices on either side, while the letters “G.R.” picked out in fairy lamps, relieving the walls. The front of the verandah running the entire length of the building was draped with tri-coloured material and the porches were outlined with fairy lights. Mr Barnard’s and Mr Bartholomew’s business premises near by were also treated, while a fine display was made on the other side of the street in the treatment of the two banks, the Capital and Counties Bank, and the London and Westminster Bank, the last-named being nicely outlined with fairy lights, and a crown, centred between the letters “G” and “R” forming a fine central piece as an effective illuminative scheme. Dr R H Barker’s residence at the corner of Church Street, had also received attention, the words “God save the King” being prominently displayed. On the other side of the railway bridge, a framework of fairy lights at the entrance to the Laundry attracted attention, while other premises in this locality worthy of mention were those of Dr Blake James, who had adopted an illuminative, rather than decorative, scheme; the Hungerford Supply Stores, where, in addition to Japanese lanterns, the familiar device of the crown and the King’s monogram were erected; and Messrs Allright’s extensive establishment, where, in addition to an illuminated crown and the display of a number of fairy lights, huge flags fluttered in the wind. The Post Office provided a nice touch of colour to the scene at this point, the front of the building and the windows being outlined with the popular and effective fairy lights, while the fine business premises of Messrs Hutchins and Co had also received effective treatment. The business premises of mr C J Hawkes, L Nye, W Barnard, F Batten, Cash & Co, and Mr Hawkes’ private premises were also decorated, as were likewise those of Mr J S Tyler, and Messrs Fruen and Son. Dr Dickson had fairy lights on his residence, and Mrs Froome had embellished the front of the High School with the letters “G R” picked out in illuminants, while the windows were also framed in a similar manner. The residence of Mr H D’o W Astley was the subject of one of the most artistic schemes in the town. The archway leading to the house was prettily treated with fairy lamps, two illuminated crowns, and the King’s initials were prominently displayed on the residence, while, above all, was the Riyal Arms. Even the gateway leading to the offices was treated with an illuminative device, the whole being very effective. On the opposite side of the road Mr L Beard and Mr S J R Fox had paid attention to the effect of their premises while on the other side of the canal bridge the same spirit of loyalty and patriotism was manifested. Mr Wooldridge’s yard had a brave display of flags, while the premises of Mr Lowe, Mr Borlase, Mr Phelps, Mr Batt, Mr Mosdell, and Mr Rumball had each been well treated. The residence and yard of Messrs L and J Beard were also admirably decorated. “The Barley Mow”, with its crown and other illuminative devices, besides the royal letters, and the “John O’Gaunt”, with its many devices, of a similar character, and the words “Long live our King and Queen” over the gateway, made fine displays; and Mrs Andrews’ residence had also received careful treatment, as had the following premises at this end of Bridge Street: Mr Freeman’s, Mr Clements, Danford & Skinner’s, and Mr Taylor’s. Mr Parsons’ treatment of his premises and of the brook near by completing the decoration of this particular street. Mr Parsons had spent a good deal of time in securing a good water effect and had put up several hundreds of fairy lights for this purpose. Charnham Street was also effectively decorated. The Bear Hotel must have had considerable time spent upon it. The windows were all outlined and a large crown, also illuminated, occupied a central position. The premises of Messrs Stradling and Plenty, Jessett and Hunt, Mr C Mepsted, Mr Annetts, Mr J Horne, the Sun Inn, and the Gas Company being brightly treated by bold devices illuminated by gas. Col Willes’ premises (…….) their motto, prominently displayed, “Our King – Duke of Lancaster”. The cottages occupied by the tenantry on the Littlecote estate were also decorated.
It will be seen by the foregoing details that Hungerford did indeed lay itself out to a scheme of decoration and illumination which should be a testimony to their loyalty and provide a cordial welcome to the crowned head, and their efforts were completely successful, the town presenting an appearance of unparalleled attractiveness.
To whom credit is due
Although, therefore, credit is due to the whole of the inhabitants for the way in which they threw themselves into the work, special mention must be made of those committee who undertook the great public scheme. The Constable was, of course, at the head of the concern, and he had as the officers such efficient and expert organisers as Mr H D’o W Astley as hon. General secretary; Mr Thomas Levy as hon secretary of the Finance Ciommittee, Messrs S W Allright and F Jessett as hon joint secretaries of the Illuminations and Decorations Committee, Mr F W Baker and Mr W Jacob as Hon Treasurers.
Others on the General Committee were: The Vicar (the Rev T S Gray), and Messrs J Alexander, H Annetts, A E Allright, W Alexander, E M Allen, J Beard, A Bartholomew, C Cambourn, H Chapman, F Barnard, L beard, D Cookson, H Coker, T Crook, W Chapman, J H Dore, Dr Dickson, H Walton Gibbons, F E Hunt, G Hawkes, R N Hofland, D Harding, Dr James, Frank Jessett, J King, W Mapson, sen, R Middleton, J Newhook, G E Platt, L Pountain, A W Piper, W S Raine, O Richens, J Smallbones, E P Shepherd, W Sperring, sen, W Strickland, J Vincent, Col Willes, T F Wheeler, J Wooldridge, and H L Wigglesworth.
One half of the above formed the Illuminations and Decoration Committee and the other half the Finance Committee.
The Illumination Committee was divided into three sub-committees, Arches, Decorations and Lighting and the members of these important committees, to whom the success of the scheme was entirely due, were as follows:
Arches: Messrs C Cambourn (leader), and S W Allright, W S Raine, F Jessett, A Bartholomew, J H Dore, W Sperring, F Barnard, W Gibbons, Wheatley, Weaving and Pocock.
Decorations: Messrs S W Allright (leader), with Col Willes and H L Wigglesworth, T F Wheeler, G Hawkes, R Newhook, J Vincent, T I Crook, and H Annetts.
Lighting: Messrs H Chapman (leader), J H Dore, W Chapman, D Cookson, A Bartholomew, I Pountain, Piper, H Coker, T levy, and Dr Dickson.
After playing the National Anthem at the station during the arrival of the King, the Hungerford Town Band took up their position on a specially erected bandstand near the Town Hall. This, like all other features, was admirably decorated. Their programme had to be curtailed, however, in consequence of the wet evening, but the selections they played were much appreciated.
The members of the Hungerford Volunteer Fire Brigade also took a part in the function. They were stationed at the Bear Corner with their motor engine, fully manned, with steam up. Those on duty were Captain John Beard, Lieut. The Rev T S Gray, Second Lieut, Richens, Sergt, Stevens, Jessett, and Chapman, Engineers, Clifford, Stevens and Champ, Fireman Jessett, G J Hawkes, Macklin and Cookson.
Trout for the King
One of the most highly valued privileges enjoyed by Hungerfordians is that of free fishing. Kennet trout are famed throughout the country and the fisheries at Hungerford are the envy of piscatorial devotees far and wide. This privilege was granted to Hungerford by John o' Gaunt, under the circumstances detailed in another column - surely a regal gift. It was, therefore, a pleasing incident that the Feoffees should forward a dish of six fine trout for his Majesty while at Chilton. The trout, which weighed 9lbs 4oz were fine specimens. Nor was the Kennet fish the only product for his Majesty's table, for to Messrs Hutchins and Co, the well known butchers and purveyors, of Hungerford, fell the honour of supplying the Hon John Ward during his Majesty's visit, some prime Devon bullocks having been specially fed at Littlecote for this purpose, while lambs were also specially fed at Littlecote for the occasion. Messrs Hutchins and Co fully appreciate the honour which is theirs in thus catering for the King.
At the conclusion of the Chilton visit the King will return to London tomorrow (Saturday) to spend the week-end at Buckingham Palace. His Majesty has expressed his willingness to inspect the local Companies of the Church Lads' Brigade and the Boys' Brigade, who will be drawn up near the railway station.
Town to be illuminated on Friday
At a meeting held on Wednesday night at Hungerford it was resolved to again illuminate the streets tonight (Friday), and the Constable hopes that the residents will co-operate in the general scheme.
Demonstration at Shefford.
The visit of King George to Chilton, and the knowledge that His Majesty would pass through Shefford on his way to Woolley Park for shooting over the preserves rented by the Hon John Ward, aroused the inhabitants to a sense of loyal enthusiasm and despite the extremely cold and damp weather the residents of Shefford and district turned out en masse to cheer the King as he went throughhh the village. Flags and streamers were freely displayed, and a triumphal arch was erected near the Mill, where assembled a large crowd, with the Rector and Mrs Hudson actively engaged in arranging for an effective reception. The school children, with Miss Spickell, their mistress, and the teachers were lined up near the arch, and upon the arrival of the King the National Anthem was sung, the young voices being joined in by the men and women, who had loudly cheered him from each side of the road. A number of his Majesty's loyal subjects, after watching the car disappear, adjourned to the welcome warmth of the Swan Hotel, there to loyally drink the health of the King. The church bells rang out peals of welcome, George Rolfe and his band of ringers doing their best, with success, to give true and effective ringing.
Excellent sport obtained
The King has had excellent sport over the Woolley Estate, and each day large bags have been obtained. The Woolley district is noted as one of the best partridge grounds in the country, and for many years the late Sir William Pearce used to obtain large bags, and last year te Hon John Ward and party shot over a thousand brace in three and a half days. In many districts the past wet season proved very disastrous to the birds, many being killed; the Woolley preserves also sufffered, but Head Keeper Bennett paid special attention to the birds in view of His Majesty's visit, and, receiving the hearty co-operation of the tenant farmers, the partridges are very abundant and the coveys in splendid condition.
Beside the King, who is an excellent shot, the Hon John Ward is entertaining a number of well known and keen sportsmen, including Lord Wolverton, Lord Herbert, Lord Ilchester, the Hon L Molyneaux, Col Sir Frederick Ponsonby, and Commander Sir Charles Cust, and the bags secured are as follows: Tuesday: Partridges, 243 brace; Hares, 160; Pheasants, 107. Wednesday: Partridges, 353; Pheasants, 18; Hares 60. Thursday: Partridges, 284; Pheasants, 74; Hares, 53; various, 9.
The King is an early riser, and after partaking of breakfast and transacting urgent business, the party has been away from Chilton at 9.30 every morning, and shooting has commenced soon after 10 o'clock.
Lunch has been held in a tent at 1 o'clock, the ladies joining the guns, and on Thursday the Vicar of Hungerford (the Rev T S Gray) had the honour of lunching with His Majesty.
[A long section outling the early history of Hungerford, largely quoting from Walter Money's "AnHistorical Sketch of the Town of Hungerford" and other works.]
The King's return from Chilton
Enthusiastic scenes at Hungerford
His Majesty and the blind veteran
It was decidedly unfortunate that the weather during the evening of the King's arrival at Hungerford on Monday, on a visit to the Hon John Ward at Chilton, and on the morning of his return through the interesting town on Saturday morning, should have been so very bad as to render the elaborate decorative scheme, of which Hungerford and the neighbourhood had every just reason to be proud, practically non-effective. The town has never been so beautifully treated; it would, indeed, have been difficult to improve upon it, and the scheme as a whole would have done credit to a town of much larger dimensions. As stated in our report of the arrival proceedings last week, the illuminations were considerably interfered with on Monday night by the downpour of rain which saturated the fairy cups and extinguished the light just as the committee had finished their self-imposed and arduous task of lighting the thousands of small globes on the line of the route. They thought nothing of their labour, however, and cheerfully entered upon the task a second time, upon its being decided to illuminate of Friday. And it was then that one got an idea of what the work really was; lights gleemed out from a wealth of evergreens, where they had been placed to produce effect , while others glimmered in places where it must have been extremely difficult for the committee to have placed them; the whole presenting a charming scene of light and beauty. The appearance of the town on Friday night was recompense for the labour involved, for the committee, and the occupiers of private residences, had carried out a scheme which completely transformed the town and made the labourers proud of their achievement.
With a fine evening on Friday and the glass going up, the townspeople were encouraged to think that they would be able to receive the King into the town on Saturday morning with the sun shining upon the decorations - for the scheme had been cleverly planned to produce the double effect - an illuminated vista through which his Majesty might pass on Friday night, and adaylight scene of decorated beauty, the colourscheme of which was artistic and effective, for streamers, flags, bunting and trophies were used in picturesque abundance to give to the town a blaze of colour which should be the outward sign of Hungerford's enthusiasm for the honour conferred upon the neighbourhood by the Royal visit.
But this was not to be. Rain fell heavily throughout the morning and as his Majesty;s car passed through the town, more miserable meteorological conditions could not be imagined. It was a cold, raw morning, with the rain falling incessantly, but although this had the effect of spoiling the charm of the decorations and rendered necessary the abandonment of the interesting incident at the station, his Majesty having graciously inimated his willingness to inspect the local companies of the Church Lads' Brigade and the Boys' Brigade, yet it could not nothing could, check the enthusiasm of Hungerfordians, nor minimise the warmth of the reception again accorded the Ruling Sovereign as he passed through the town on his way to the station. The Royal train was timed to leave Hungerfod at 10.40, but at 10 o'clock signs of activity were noticeable in the town, particularly at the railway station and its approach. The members of the local company of the Church Lads' Brigade arrived early, and took up positions on the station approach. The Church Lads' Brigade was under the command of Capt Withers, the Chaplain (the Rev T S Gray) being also present; while the Boys' Brigade with their bugle band, numbering in all about thirty, were under Capt Morley Slade. The lads looked very smart and cheerfully braved the elements in order to have the opportunity of saluting their King. On the opposite side of the approach, in an enclosure were 400 school children, paraded under Mr C Camburn who with his staff of teachers, saw that the children were made as comfortable as possible under the circumstances. The rain did not damp the childrens' enthusiasm, and the boys proudly waved their Union Jacks, while the girls were adourned with tri-coloured favours. And then, stretching away on either side, could be seen the tops of hundreds of umbrellas. About half-past ten the waving of handkerchiefs by the crowd at the corner near Mr Alexander's signalised the approach of the car - this and the cheers of the crowd farther along the route. The car came very steadily round the corner, the members of the Brigades and the whole lines of children involuntarily to attentiion, the Town Band played the National Anthem and the car containing his Majesty proceeded at little more than a walking pace through the lines, returning the salute of the members of the Brigade.
It is unfortunate that the weather was so unfavourable as to prevent the King carrying out the intended inspection.
At the station
As the King entered the station the school-children sang the National Anthem. Assembled on the platform were the Constable, Town Clerk and Feoffees.
His Majesty who, it was noticed with gratification, was wearing the Lancastrian red rose presented to him by the Constable on his arrival on Monday evening, corially shook hands with Mr Adnams and commented upon the unfortunate weather, adding his gratfication at the heartiness of Hungerford's reception which he observed he highly appreciated.
The Constable expressed the wish, which will be endorsed by all Hungerfordians, that his Majesty would soon be seen at Hungerford again.
After shaking hands with the Hon John Ward, the King entered the Royal train which had been dawn up on the down platform an hour before, and the train slowly left, his Majesty bowing his acknowledgement of the plaudits of the crowd. Thus ended a visit, which, despite the weather, must have been highly gratifying to the King, the heartiness of whose reception was a further tribute to the loyalty and patriotism of a time-honoured borough, whose splendid traditions have been thus enhanced.
The following officials were among those present: Mr Frank Potter (General Manager GWR), Mr J Armstrong (Locomotive Superintendent), Mr J V Williams (Assistant Superintendent of the Line), Mr Matthews (Chief of the Detective Department, GWR), Mr J Dunster (Divisional Superintendent), and Mr J N Taylor (Divisional Engineer), Mr F E Hunt (Stationmaster), Mr J H Dore (Permanent Way Official), etc.
The Feoffees present were Dr H P Major, Dr L H Barker, Mr A E Allright, Mr George E Platt, Mr G Wren, Mr J Wooldridge, Mr J Alexander, Mr T W Alexander, Mr L H Beard, Mr F W Church, Mr R R Earle and Mr W Mapson.
Major Poulton (Chief Constable of Berks), Supt Gamble (Newbury) and the Mayor of Newbury (Mr S S Knight) were also present.
The Hungerford motor fire engine took up a position across the High Street at the bottom of Park Street, thus stopping the traffic during his Majesty's journey through the town to the station. The members on duty were Capt John Beard, Second-Lieut Richens, Sergts Stevens, Jessett and Chapman, Engineers Clifford, Stevens and Champ, Firemen Jessett, G J Hawkes, Macklin and Cookson.
The scene at Chilton
An Interesting incident
The King's progress through Chilton on Saturday morning was marked by an incident which shows his Majesty's solicitation for veterans, and was an act of regal courtesy which will be long remembered. The King's car had slowed down for the purpose of affording the royal occupant an opportunity of hearing the school children sibng the National Anthem, when, his Majesty observing among the spectators a veteran soldier, motioned to him. The old warrior, named William Angell, who was in his 80th year, and is blind, having had his eyesight destroyed through the bursting of a shell in an engagement fifty years ago, was escorted to the car and the King chatted genially with him for some minutes.
In reply to his Majesty, the veteramn stated that he belonged to the old 9th Foot now the East Norfolk Regiment.
The King took a great interest in the blind veteran and expressed the hope that he might be spared for many years to come.
Loyal demonstration at Hungerford Newtown
For four successive days last week a crown of villagers and visitors assembled at the corner of this hamlet to watch his Majesty King George V motor through on his way to Woolley. The school children - each with a Union Jack, presented them by Miss Lewis, head mistress of the school, greeted the King with rousing cheers and a singing of the National Anthem. His Majesty each day acknowledged with a gracious nod and smile these loyal attentions on the part of the juvenile subjects of Newtown. An archway had been erected, with the motto "Long live the King", and the same was ablaze with the decoration of flags and shields, imparting to the little hamlet quite a festive and joyous appearance. Those responsible for the decorations were Mr A Brown and Mr F Bates. On Saturday morning the children journeyed to Hungerford to join with children there in a further display of loyalty and in giving his Majesty and enthusiastic send-off.