Two weeks ago I printed a group picture of the Committee set up to organise Marlow’s celebrations for the 1911 Coronation of King George V. The photograph above was also briefly mentioned and I was wrong in assuming that most readers would have seen it before as it has been published a few times, albeit without my slight touch of colourisation. I received more than the usual amount of feedback, by phone and email, including requests to see this other picture.

Thanks also to local ancestry historian Kathryn Day who provided additional information on the “V.I.Ps” in the first line-up. Nobody has yet solved the problem on where the photo was taken, in front of weatherboarded wooden buildings. The old Marlow Mill was suggested but I had ruled that out some time ago. Anyway, the above photograph was taken early morning on Coronation Day 22nd June (not raining!) and appears to include many organising officials but also the caterers who provided a lunch for the town’s Senior Citizens. No query this time on the setting – this very distinctive flint faced building is much the same today in St. Peter Street but now with a side extension. Built in 1861 this was originally the Public Hall, sign board on the right, but also known as the Lecture Hall or Music Room. Possibly the earliest piece of surviving memorabilia connected with the hall is a large 1881 poster, owned by local piano tuner Gill Green, and advertising a concert in aid of the Transvaal War Relief Fund. In the first three decades of the last century the hall was the regular venue for the Amateur Operatic Society’s Gilbert & Sullivan productions. I have pictures of various operettas held there, including The Gondoliers, from 1930, and I think I might be correct in guessing that a young Cyril Chalk is in the cast: possibly one of his first appearances. It looks like the audience sat on deck chairs! It seems that the hall fell into disrepair during the war and the Operatic Society were off the scene for a period before beginning again in the Liston Hall, along with the Marlow Players who had used the Church Hall in the Causeway, The local Lodge of the Freemasons bought the Public Hall building for £1000 from the Council about 90 years ago. The side extension was added in the 1970s, and the building now serves as the headquarters of many Lodges and over 1000 members. I saw the impressive interior for the first time at one of Marlow Society’s Heritage Days, and was fascinated to find that traces of the old proscenium arch were still visible above the regalia and symbolism associated with Freemasonry. However, to return to the above 1911 line-up, faces that also appeared in the Executive Committee picture two weeks ago are W.Lord, H.Lacey, the Rev.J.Light, W.Morgan, G.Kendall and J.Langley. This is a better likeness of Horace Lacey – there is some damage across his face on my original picture that I printed two weeks ago. Bookmaker Jack Langley, standing below the signboard, adopts a similar casual pose as before. He had recently purchased Old Bridge House at the end of the street. Even in those days bookies obviously made plenty of money! However Jack was very generous to the Marlow branch of the Territorial Army, and I have a picture of him in 1915 saying farewell to his soldiers at the Railway Station, departing for the front lines of battle. Over on the left, I am guessing that it is the Vicar’s wife seated next to him. She was mother of one of Marlow’s best remembered personalities – Evelyn. A few readers might have memories and stories of Evelyn – she was my late mother’s Guide Leader. I have made no mention of the military figure with exotic uniform and headgear seated front centre – he deserves a page to himself – that is coming next week!

Contact Michael at or 01628 486571.