More material this month donated by Pam Murray and left by her father George Low.
The enlarged image is interesting for more than one reason. The organisation responsible for the dinner dance was Dunbar Traders Association which is now known as Dunbar Trades’ Association. The annual dinner dance in 1964 was held in the New Victoria Ballroom (includes photo) which was situated in what is now the grassy area above the harbour. The Roxburghe Hotel provided the catering – menu below. Nigel Marcel, whose father owned the hotel at this time, told DDHS that the Traders often held their dinner dance in the hotel itself. It may have been larger numbers that year that necessitated the move to the Victoria Ballroom. On the bottom right of the front cover – menu and wine list inside shown below – is Manageress: Miss Bertha Ricardo. NIgel Marcel’s recollections of Ms Ricardo include “She was The Manageress at the Roxburghe when my Dad worked there and kindly continued to stay on for a while after he bought it from Jack Anthony’s wife. She eventually left to go to South Africa where I think her Mother and Sister lived. I remember she was an excellent Manageress with a very pleasant personality and manner towards customers and staff”. Nigel Marcel added “She was a really nice person. She used to send us by Fallon’s taxi to the station after spending my summer holidays at the Hotel in those days [when Mr Marcel worked for Jack Anthony] and even got the taxi to stop at Fallon’s shop (just round from the Dolphin) and sent us away with a huge jar of sweets!”
Ms Ricardo was the Manageress at The Roxburghe Hotel but she was also a film and stage actor. In the photo above is, on the left, Eric Popplewell “who was managing director of Ayr Gaiety Theatre from 1940 until 1973 when the then town council bought the theatre, and productions director at the Glasgow Pavilion theatre from 1965-76” (Herald Scotland). Second from the left is Jack Anthony, a famous Scottish comedian who appeared in music hall and pantomimes, and who owned the hotel before Mr Marcel. Bertha Ricardo is on the right of the photo. She was an actress in films such as Dodging the Dole and Be Careful, Mr Smith in the 1930s. She also appeared on stage with Jack Anthony. With this background, it is little wonder that she became an excellent hotel manageress.
The menu for the dinner dance in 1964 is shown above. There were 5 courses plus coffee, so the attending traders and their guests would have been well fed. The menu reflects the times. Clear turtle soup au sherry was a popular soup in the 1960s. Today eating turtle meat in any form is banned in many countries e.g. in parts of the USA. However, recipes for this type of soup are still available. Sole Bonne Femme would be acceptable today as the fish is done in a creamy mushroom and wine sauce. Chateau Potatoes are also still popular today and traditionally the potatoes were cut into olive shapes and sautéed with parsley and seasoning. This is how Mr Marcel cooked the potatoes, Nigel Marcel confirmed – see a recipe here. Otherwise, this would have been a normal Xmas menu – today there would be a vegetarian option. It is interesting to note that soup was served at the end of the dance. Given the wine list below, some of the traders might have needed it.
This is an impressive wine list for the 1960s when drinking wine was the preserve of the middle and upper classes. Simon Hoggart wrote “My parents had organised a single bottle of wine [dinner for 3]. This wasn’t because they were tight-fisted, it’s just that in those days one bottle between three struck most middle-class people as ample. Wine wasn’t cheap. Most people bought one bottle at a time. Two glasses each was perfectly adequate”. It was only in the late 1960s that more people began to drink wine and even then it was restricted to cheap Hock or Mateus Rosé. The Traders Association members would have been amongst the more affluent in Dunbar at the time. In terms of prices, the wine on offer here was not that expensive compared to what you might pay in a hotel today. The Moet et Chandon” champagne was 36/- a bottle and this translates to £31.27 at today’s prices. In most hotels today, you would pay nearer £50 (or more) for champagne in a hotel. The Nuits St Georges also looks a bargain at £20.84 at today’s prices, as most bottles of this wine will set you back well over £30 from a wine dealer such as Laithwaite’s. Another interesting feature is that each wine is offered as a full bottle and as a half bottle – something very rarely seen nowadays. In the 1960s, buying a half bottle of wine for 2 people was probably the norm for most of those who could afford it.
This month, we return to 1969 and the follow up to It’s A Knockout which took place in Dunbar Swimming Pool/Pond in June of that year. Because Dunbar won that contest against Burntisland, they qualified as one of the British teams which went to Martigny (good photos) in Switzerland. Photographs relating to the event were given to DDHS by Douglas Robertson and Rob Bisset, and Jim Herring conducted interviews with some of the Dunbar team.
The badge above was given to all participants who went to Martigny in 1969. The teams involved in the event were Halle (Belgium), Martigny (Switzerland), Minden an der Weser (Germany), Dunbar, and Foggia (Italy). There is a full description of all the games here (scroll down to Heat 4) although the names of the Dunbar team are not all correct. The event took place on Wednesday 6th August 1969 and broadcast on TV on BBC1 on Friday 8th August from 9.05pm to 10.20pm. As with the It’s A Knockout in Dunbar, there is no recording of the event, as the tapes were wiped and re-used. The team flew to Switzerland and for many of the team, including the cheer girls, this was their first ever flight and added to the excitement of the trip. Douglas Robertson remembered “After the flight, we had two bus journeys to get to Martigny. The scenery from the airport to Martigny was very new to us and the mountains were quite spectacular”. You can see the glorious setting of Martigny here (good photos).