P.R.V. - Staff Dinner & Dance

The highlight of the year for all Staff at Park Royal was the annual Dinner & Dance for Staff employees, their spouses and other invited guests.  Seemingly always held early in the New Year, no doubt to avoid the Christmas period where it would be impossible to arrange the availability of all concerned, if not also to give the Staff something to look forward to in the dreary months to Spring.  Originally held at the Clarendon Hotel, Hammersmith, London, W6, the venue later moved to the Abbey Hotel on the North Circular Road, a venue more proximate to the works.

I am grateful to Anne James who found much of the material on this page among her father's (Cyril Risbridger's) papers.

Here are images of the original menus.
Cover '54 - Menu '54 - Cover '55 - Menu '55 - Cover '58 - Menu '58

Invariably also attended by Sir Wavell Wakefield - (Baron Wakefield of Kendal b1898 - d1983); a rugby player for the Harlequins, President of the Rugby Football Union, a Conservative MP and an engineer who became PRV's Chairman in 1959.  The paper cover for 1958 suggests times were a little harder then although entertainments were explicitly stated; Patricia Varley (Coloratura Soprano), Harold Taylor (The Witty Wizard) along with Burt Green and his Orchestra.  Incidentally, in 1958 Patricia Varley would have been a 22-year-old budding opera singer; taught by the great Italian maestro Dino Borgioli, she was to enjoy a career in opera, teaching and in the 80's/90's as an actress.

Here are some pictures (many from the Don Matthews collection) taken at various Dinner & Dances; names & dates given where known. (If anyone can confirm names & dates I shall be pleased to know. Ed.)

Undated; but judging by the quality of the image I think this is earlier than 1952/3 or even a few years before that; and I'm uncertain if the venue was the Clarendon?  Alf & Lily Hill are there and Bill Shirley looks to be at the top table though he didn't become MD officially until 1953.

On good authority almost certainly 1954.

On good authority almost certainly 1955.

Dated February 1st 1957; these two images are the same except the second missed of some delegates to the right.

Dated January 1958.



Undated; L to R: Stuart Wishart, Mary & Don Matthews, Charlie Barber, Dennis Busby, Malcolm Irlam, Cyril Davies & Margaret Wheatley , Mrs Wishart.

Undated; Left side: L to R: Unknown, Unknown, Dennis Busby, Mary & Don Matthews.
Right side: R to L: Bill Pearson, Lily & Alf Hill.

Undated; L to R: Eileen & Sid Collett, Sybil & Dave Pearson, Vi & Frank Dungate - Front: Bill & Connie Pearson.

Undated; Top table left is Bill Shirley and along the table left to right; Dolly & Cyril Risbridger, Lily & Alfred Hill, Connie & Bill Pearson.

January 1958. L to R: Sid Collett, Cyril Risbridger, Irene Collett, George Reeves, Mrs Reeves, Dolly Risbridger.

Undated; L to R: Cyril Risbridger, unknown, Dolly Risbridger, George Reeves and Mrs Reeves.


Undated; L to R: Malcolm Irlam, Peter & Doreen Monks.

Undated; Malcolm Irlam with his wife.

Undated; Dolly Risbridger (right) - the man clapping might be Bert “Slim” Sommerwell (Company Secretary), the other dancers are unknown.

Undated; Reg Stanford & wife.

Undated; L to R: Mar & Don Matthews, Unknown, Charlie & Mrs Babbs.

Undated; L to R: Bill Thomas & Wife, Don Matthews, Alf Hill, (background) Ann Daniell?, Lily Hill.
Note: I think the lady in the background is Ann Daniell, Lily Hill's sister.  She worked in the Drawing Office during and after WW2.