Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Village Whist Drives.

Wartime Village Whist Drives.
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Yes that is the answer to my quiz. Those three locations that mentioned were where weekly Whist Drives were held. My Mother was an avid player, plus she liked to get out at night to have a chat with other ladies in the village. I use to go along as well as quite a few nights my father was on duty Fire Watch at the shop at 95 High Street in Maidenhead. We use to walk to each and everyone of them. Yes all the way from Widbrook to the top of Kennel Lane. It use to take us about an hour in each direction. Of course Moor Hall and The Workingman's Club were close by comparison. I had learnt to play whist at home as my Grandmother and aunts and uncles were all great Solo Whist players.
Progressive Whist Drive is somewhat different, as the Trump Card or No Trump card was drawn by the Master of Ceremonies and was posted for all to see. Those with seven or more tricks moved on. Those playing gentlemen in a clockwise direction and the ladies in an anti-clockwise direction. The loosing Lady sat still and the loosing Gent moved around the table so as to play against his partner in the previous game. The games were made up of 24 hands and then for prize awards there was for high halves as well as top scores both Ladies and Gents. Then there was the Booby Prize for the lowest score, again both Ladies and Gents.
Being very national and war effort minded the prizes were either in National Savings Certificates worth 15/- (shillings) or in 6d (penny) saving stamps. These whist drives were always well attended and grew to quite a size especially during Wings for Victory,
War Weapons, and Warship Week, which were national savings drive campaigns.
During this period is when the village really came together, where directors of large companies or banks for instance could be found growing vegetables at the weekends in the village allotments. The wives were also found getting into their kitchens and finding how to make the rations go around and passing on cooking tips.
You may wonder where I found the only Whist Drive photo above, actually it was taken in India during the 1914-18 war. Sorry there were none to be found for 1939-45.