Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dick Turpin Rides Again

Guest post from Ron Jeffries:

Now I am not one to boast. In fact, I am the original shrinking violet. Honest! But I have to stand up to be counted on this one.

Long, long ago - in fact, as long ago as 2006, would you believe - I contacted Miller and Carter, who are part of Mitchells and Butler, to ask them why they had dropped the name DICK TURPIN from our local hostelry.

I met a man from M & C (or it may have been M & B) at the said establishment who told me that there was no way that they would ever countenance a return to the DICK TURPIN. He went further and said that they did not wish to be a pub with a restaurant attached, but a classy steak house. They introduced rules of dress. No jeans. No farm labourers (of whom we have a dwindling few). No muddy boots. Certainly no bare chests - and that was just the ladies! No children - dread the thought (and they tore down the playground out back just to make sure that no snotty-nosed infant should dare to darken their doors again). Teenagers were discouraged and anyone who walked stood a good chance of being knocked down by the limousines of the M & C Executives who frequented the place.

But things did not go well for M & C as folk started to stay away. And so they relaxed the dress rules a little - but still no farm labourers or muddy boots, and certainly no children and as for teenagers, well they were nowhere to be seen, having moved to more friendly places in the town.

Then M & C - or was it M & B - went bust . . . sort of anyway. They were in financial trouble and the PR Man I had met and who had sent me so many emails about upper crust dining and brand names and all that jazz - well, he departed faster than I can walk from here to the Dick Turpin.

But we kept calling it the Dick Turpin. It is listed in the telephone directory as the Dick Turpin. If you ring to book a table (which you cannot these days!) they say "Dick Turpin". And your credit card slip (so I am told, for I have blacklisted the place and not darkened its doors until the name was back) says Dick Turpin.

But earlier this year I considered the time was right to have another go at having the name put up there in lights. The former PR man had produced a sketch with a small board below the main sign with the words Dick Turpin - and I sent this off to M & C. A nice man called Oliver told me that never, never, never would they put the words on a sign. Not until the tide failed to come in at Southend-on-Sea or Her Majesty The Queen did cartwheels down the Mall. He was firm in this - and told me all about brands and branding and PR and all that jazz.

But I was not going to take all this laying down with my legs in the air - which is not a pretty sight when the sun is shining, let alone when it rains. Emails went back and forth - and even forth and back at times. No, no, said Oliver. Yes, yes, said I.

Then I brought out the BIG GUNS. I asked my good Friend Alan to place the story on the Barkingside 21 website. He did so in July of this very year - and that got Oliver rattled for sure! So rattled was he that he promised to reconsider. I waited - and waited. I hinted that I might involve the Ilford Recorder - which sent a further wave of shock through Oliver. I asked what was happening? I am travelling to Russia and then on holiday said Oliver - and I will make a decision in September. I asked Oliver in early September what was happening. I am still on holiday he wrote.

Then Councillor Vanessa and I met in August with two men from M & C at Cuckoo Hall (which is another saga with which I will not bother you today - but might at some future time) and one of them told me that the sign had been ordered. But I decided not to count my chickens before they bolted the sty.

And so it came to pass that this very morning at around eleven the Good Mrs Shirley Rudge of Aldborough Hall Farm rang me on her mobile from her car on her way to visit her daughter Sally. Shirley had just driven past the Dick Turpin and saw two men up a ladder fixing the new sign. In fact one man was up the ladder, the other was standing below. Grabbing an umbrella and my camera, I was up the road before Yvonne could bake a few mince pies or make another batch of lemon marmalade.

Two rather startled workmen wondered what had happened when I puffed up before them - just as a class of children from the William Torbitt were returning down the footpath from Fairlop Waters. The men were most interested in what I had to tell them about our fight - and happily posed for pictures - in spite of the fact that their work was done and they really wanted to get back in their nice warm van as by this time the rain was fairly bucketing down.

The photographs here make clear that we have won a battle and also the war. Well done all you folk who supported me. And as for those of you who scoffed and said I was fighting a losing battle and watsing my time (and I should know better at my age than to antagonise nice men from the Big Comapnies), I would just say that we British do not give up when PR men thrust their brands at us. The Dick Turpin dates back to Victorian England when the first Dick Turpin was a Beer Hall in a cottage just north of the present bulding and near to Mrs Rudge's House - as will be revealed in my new book which is being written and researched as I write (although it has to be said that compiling this message has put the book back by a few hours!). To be published in the early part of 2012 (DV) in full colour, the provisional title is Aldborough Hatch - A History - but I am working on that and will have a title to entice readers.

I apologise for the quality of the photographs - for it was pouring with rain. The sun is shining now, but I will have to have a lie down after all this excitement - and I may not get back up there today.

Ron Jeffries


  1. Well done, Ron - more power to your elbow. Anybody taking on your or Vanessa is dicing with death; take you both on together and they're positively dommed!

  2. That BDSM link posted by Knowsie seems to have had an effect on you Morris?

  3. Typo - doomed!

  4. Troublemakers! Closet Anarchists!

    Don't you realise, Jeffries: if something is New it MUST be better!!!! Baaaahhhh - Bravo.

  5. weggis said... "That BDSM link posted by Knowsie ..."

    Sorry to contradict you but the BDSM link was posted by none other than Barkingside 21 ...

  6. .. after you had directed me to it!

  7. Well done that boy!!!

    BUT what about the "Camillot" at Lanborne End? Also a M & C Restaurant. We've booked for Christmas lunch and would hate to think it could go "belly up".!!

  8. Or even the Camelot at Lambourne End......

  9. A group of us had lunch at the Camelot at Lambourne End this week - service and food excellent as ever.

  10. Hi Everyone - Thanks for your kind words about the Dick Turpin. The news has hit Aldborough Hatch in a big way and I have had over 35 emails saying how pleased folk are that the name board is up - including one from a former resident now growing garlic in Australia! And I have been stopped in the street, too! Sadly I cannot take on the M & C at Lambourne End, much as I would like to do so. I have enough sorting things out here in the Hatch. And I am working on my next book - provisionally called ALDBOROUGH HATCH - A HISTORY - due out early next year with old and new photographs of the church, the Dick Turpin, the Chapel, the Farms - and it will not be boring but laced with crisp comment and a few laughs! Watch this space! Regards to you all Ron