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Letter: My Recollections of the Boxing Day Hunt Meeting

Published on: 11 Dec, 2017
Updated on: 11 Dec, 2017

From Bernard Parke

hon alderman and former Mayor of Guildford

In response to: Were You There? – Surrey Union Hunt Meeting

Whilst serving as a borough councillor I always supported the office of mayor, and in doing so supported the mayor when he or she attended the Boxing Day Hunt, held in those days at the old Civic Hall.

The Boxing Day Hunt first met in 1946, outside the Guildhall. It was thought at the time it would give colour to the people of Guildford after the dark days of the Second World War.

In later years there was considerable opposition to this event which turned extremely violent. Fireworks were thrown at riders, several of whom were just young children on horseback.

One mayor of Guildford, the late Cllr Joan Golding, while attending an event at the university, had a dead fox thrown at her.

It was thought that such demonstrations did not lend themselves to the spirit of Christmas. So when I was elected mayor I felt that I should not preside over such discontent and I stated that I would not attend the ceremony which had the effect of removing it from central Guildford.

It was shortly after that that bricks came through our bedroom windows in the middle of the night.

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Responses to Letter: My Recollections of the Boxing Day Hunt Meeting

  1. Mo Legg Reply

    December 11, 2017 at 4:49 pm

    Thanks for jogging memories by publishing the item from Bernard Parke, hon alderman and former mayor.

    I remember watching the hunt congregate in the car park situated at the upper end of Tunsgate on the right-hand side. I asked my uncle, who took my sister and me to watch the spectacle, what the man in the red coat on a very large horse was doing. “Having a drink to keep him warm” he replied with a chuckle.

    This must have been about 1948/49 and we went for several years in a row for the event. Some twenty-five years later my wife and I took our own children to the meet in the Civic Hall car park but it wasn’t the same, little atmosphere or excitement of the hunters and our children didn’t like it as we had done when we were just kids.

    The picture shown with the item would have been the hunt riding away from the Civic Hall passing the RGS on their way to Tunsgate and then on and upwards to Pewley Hill or South Hill and finally the downs.

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