The Rickmansworth Society

Rickmansworth Society Timeline

 

 

Dates Events
1953 It all started in 1953, the year of the Queen’s coronation.

For some time it had been felt that there was a need for an organisation to co-ordinate the activities of the various societies and community groups in Rickmansworth.

March 1953 Meeting of reps of various local organisations was called by the Rickmansworth Rotary Club and held in the Ebury Hall. The Chairman of RUDC, Mr Chavasse was asked to preside.

It was decided that a society to co-ordinate community activities in Rickmansworth should be formed and an interim committee was elected with Mr Jack Rothera as Chairman.

May 1953 At the first meeting of the society, it was agreed that it should be called The Rickmansworth Society, with Mr Rothera elected as Chairman, Mrs K Hobbs as Secretary and Mr A Smith as Treasurer.
July 1953 At the next meeting, it was decided that one of the objects of the Society should be to raise funds for provision of a good hall for the community and a sub-committee was appointed to pursue this.  The first suggestion for a Rickmansworth Week was also made.
March 1954 First AGM.  J Rothera re-elected as Chairman, with Mr H E Standford as Secretary and Mr W H Gibson as Treasurer.  There were 33 affiliated organisations and the Public Hall Fund stood at £192.
February 1955 Second AGM.  Public Hall Fund now £723.  Confirmed that R Week would be held in June.  Later in the year Mr Gibson resigned and was replaced as Treasurer by Mr R L Adams.
June 1955 First Rickmansworth Week.  Procession on the opening Saturday, but quite a small affair, including a small band, Civil Defence, St John Ambulance, Red Cross and the Young Conservatives.
1956 – 1959 R Week was held each year, with increasing numbers of organisations taking part.  In 1957, Mrs K Mendelssohn was elected to the position of Secretary of a sub-committee organising the Week.

In 1959, the selection of a Miss Rickmansworth took place for the first time.  This continued until 2017.

Also in 1959, Mr & Mrs Gravestock were elected as Joint Secretaries of the Society, following the death of Mr Stanford.

April 1960 Mrs K Mendelssohn was elected Vice-Chairman and Mr P J Spencer as Treasurer, replacing Mr Adams.
March 1961 At the AGM, Mrs K Mendelssohn elected Chairman, following the retirement of Mr Rothera who was elected to the newly created office of President. Kay served as Chairman until her death in November 2005.
Sept 1961 Mr Rothera resigned because he was leaving Rickmansworth and replaced as President by Mr Hayman.
1964 Mr John Overend elected Vice-Chairman and Mr B Gay elected Treasurer.
April 1966 AGM.  Mr John Whiteside elected President following resignation of Mr Hayman.
October 1969 Death of Mr Gravestock, who was replaced as Joint Secretary by his daughter, Mrs Barbara Owen.
1960s Throughout the 60s, Ricky Week continued to be held and a pattern established which has continued with few changes until today. From 1962, Miss Rickmansworth was selected before the week, with her crowning and opening ceremony on the first Saturday morning, followed by the procession in the afternoon.  In recent years, the opening ceremony and crowning have been after the procession, or Carnival Parade as we now call it.  The route for the Parade has also changed to keep it within the area of the Town Centre.
late – 1960s Although the Public Hall Fund had continued to grow, it was realised that the Society would never be able to raise enough money to build a community hall.  At that time though, the Council were considering building a new civic centre and in 1972 construction started on what was to become Watersmeet.
April 1974 At the AGM, decided that the money in the Public Hall Fund, which stood at just over £3,000, should be used to purchase something for the new civic centre.
Later in the year it was agreed that the money should be used to purchase a grand piano, which is still in use today.

Also in 1974, TRDC was created by merging the local urban district councils.

May 1975 Watersmeet opened and the Society held its first Autumn Market in October.  This has been an annual event ever since.
February 1976 The Society was presented with its first minibus by the Round Table.  Rickmansworth Lions presented us with a second (replacement) bus in 1986.  In 1992, Three Rivers Community Transport Ltd was set up as a Registered Association and purchased a new minibus with help from donations and grants, including a substantial sum from the Telethon fund-raising scheme on ITV.  The new bus was operated by members of the Society and a sub-committee appointed by the Executive Committee of the Rickmansworth Society.
April 1983 Death of Mrs Gravestock announced at the AGM, leaving Mrs Barbara Owen as sole Secretary, an office she has held to this day.
1986 Another change of officers when Mr Gay resigned as Treasurer and Mr Peter Waters was elected to replace him.  Again, a position unchanged to this day.
March 1989 Mr John Whiteside died.  At the AGM that year, Air Marshal Sir Ivor Broom was elected to the office of President.

It was at about this time that Tony Berry became involved with the Society as representative of the Residents’ Association and organiser of the Ricky Week procession.

July 2000 Roundabout Transport was set up to provide community transport in SW Herts and it was decided in 2002 that the Three Rivers Community Transport Association should amalgamate with them and transfer its assets to the new organisation, which should be able to operate  more effectively over a wider area.
2003 Sir Ivor died in early 2003 and since then the office of President has remained unfilled.

Sadly, Sir Ivor was not with us to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of the Society in that year, when a dinner was held.

Nov 2005 As mentioned above, Kay Mendelssohn died, having served as Chairman for 44 years.  In 2006 it was decided that a memorial cup should be purchased and presented each year to a person or organisation who had given outstanding service to the community of Rickmansworth.  Nominations were invited and the cup was presented at the 2007 AGM to Mr Mike Purdy, who was then Chairman of the Rickmansworth Chamber of Business.

The Kay Mendelssohn Memorial Cup has been awarded each year since.

 

These notes are largely based on information in “A Brief History” of the Rickmansworth Society and Ricky Week written in 1993 by Eddy Parrott.  Eddy was a stalwart member of the Society and took part in the first Ricky Week procession in 1955.  I believe he probably took part in the procession every year until he died in 1997, usually representing the Three Rivers Museum of which he was the founder-Chairman when it opened in 1987.