A Small World

Some time in 1954 I paid a visit with my girlfriend to Lullingstone silk farm at the Lullingstone castle in Kent. We bought a guidebook on our visit and took some photographs of the area around the castle. (Which isnt a castle but a country house) Some years later my girlfriend (now my wife) and myself visited Eynsford castle. We waited at an empty kiosk to pay our entrance fee watched by a semicircle of various birds.

Miss Mabel Standen, now Mrs Friend, wearing the wedding dress of silk shr reeled at Lullingstone Silk Farm.

Miss Mabel Standen, now Mrs Friend, wearing the wedding dress of silk shr reeled at Lullingstone Silk Farm. [Full image 22.7kb]

Then a woman came running towards us with a large piece of cheese in her hand and apologised for keeping us waiting. It appeared that she was the kiosk attendant, and had just popped along to the local grocer for a piece of stale cheese to feed the birds with. Some of them even went into the kiosk, to be fed.

We mentioned that, some years previously we had visited the silk farm, which by now had moved from Lullingstone, and she told us that we were the first people she had met who had previously visited the silk farm, and that she had been the forewoman at that farm. We still had the guidebook that we had bought in 1954 and showed it to her. Whereupon she opened it and showed us a photograph inside of her and her husband on their wedding day, she in a dress made from Lullingstone silk which she had reeled herself. Her name was Mabel Field, nee Standen

On the 8th June this year my "ex-girlfriend" and I went on a coach trip organised by Roy Kilsby, who some of our readers know from trips he organises for the Merton Historical Society, to Rochester, for the Dickens Festival, Lullingstone Roman villa and Lullingstone castle. At the Roman villa I was telling the story which you have just read to one of our party and one of the young ladies of the counter overheard my voice and, pointing to a female colleague nearby, said "Her auntie Mabel still feeds birds with cheese!"

At the castle later I was talking to a lady attendant in one of the castle rooms, telling her about the coincidence that she told me that she had been a schoolteacher and had taught Mabel Fields children at the local school in Eynsford.

Small world isn't it?

Volunteer Eric Shaw

[go back]
[go to index]
[go forward]