It has been a number of years since Julian and I attended an Old Hall Fair. The last time was at Moseley Old Hall. Fortuitously, I had bought Julian a tour of the Morgan Car Factory at Malvern for a gift and when Nigel sent through the date for the Fair and Meal we decided to have a weekend of seeing a classic car in production and a chance to catch up with Nigel, Dianne and family at this annual gathering.
We arrived mid-afternoon at The Haling Dene Centre, where tea and cakes were being served by Dianne and Val - and delicious cakes they were too! Nigel welcomed us warmly and immediately said he had a little gift for us both - we were presented with Old Hall badges with our names on. Resisting the cakes briefly, we made our way into the hall where an array of stalls greeted us! There were some marvellous displays and, despite our own very extensive amount of Old Hall at home, I managed to persuade Julian that several hammered trays - one made in the 1930s Nigel assured me - were essential to our Wiggin family collection! There appeared to be a constant flow of people throughout the afternoon enjoying the varied Old Hall stalls.
We were delighted to see again Jeremy, Emma and their children Adam and Amy, James with Matthew and Charlotte and Louise and Ian, with Joshua and Julie joining us later for the meal.
We arrived at the Bridge House Hotel on a sunny warm evening and, as we sat down, Nigel welcomed everybody by saying it was the largest gathering of The Old Hall Club ever. We basically took over the whole restaurant for the evening, which was a great tribute to Nigel and Dianne for all their hard work in running The Old Hall Club.
Following our meal, Nigel gave thanks to various people, but notably to Dianne, who had not only made seven cakes but prepares the Newsletters and a lot of the organisation for The Old Hall Club and events. He mentioned that a Channel 4 TV company called Ricochet wanted to feature Old Hall in a programme; after deliberation he declined, as he said they were not having his 1930 teapot! (Now I know why it was chained to the trestle table at the hall!). Nigel also mentioned a possible visit to Robert Welch in November to celebrate 50 years on Chipping Campden High Street, details to follow. Nigel then introduced Julian, his second cousin; their grandfathers were brothers, Will and Noah Wiggin.
Julian thanked Nigel for his warm welcome and began his memories of growing up with Old Hall by momentarily stunning his cousin - he produced a small bell, made in the 1930s and stamped Olde Hall Staybrite. Nigel had only ever seen it in a catalogue; it was a lucky find for us 20 years ago. Nigel only sulked for a few minutes!!!
Julian emphasised he was only going to talk about memories and amusing thoughts on growing up with Old Hall. Nigel has always covered so well the manufacture and production side. His anecdotes ranged from Wiggin 'Musical Houses' along Lichfield Road and Stafford Road in Bloxwich, to memorable employees whom he remembers so well. These included Jack Heathfield, who seemed only to run errands for the Wiggin family and do school runs in his woodbine smoke-filled car! David Stone, the works van driver, who amongst his daily tasks also delivered birthday cakes to school for Julian!! And who could forget Nurse Doris and her large pot of black drawing ointment that was her cure no matter what the ailment was! He also recalled, for the benefit of Nigel, his high speed spin with Uncle Wilfred (Nigel's father) in his brand new Jenson Interceptor; this was approximately 750 yards round the block, at speeds not in excess of 15 mph! Great days and so many great memories from the heyday of Old Hall during the late 1950s and 60s.
He concluded by linking a few memorable years ending in the number 9 from 1919 to 2019, including 1939 and the celebration last week of Nigel's 80th birthday. Many happy returns ......
Finally, Julian thanked Nigel on behalf of all the Wiggin family for everything he has done with The Old Hall Club to keep the memories of the firm alive, a hundred years on from its beginnings.
Click here to see more photos of the 2019 Summer Fair.