Birthday gathering for bored-looking Viscount

FROM the tragic tale of the Palethorpe sisters to a far happier event recorded in the Journal in 1936 – the coming-of-age party for Viscount Brackley who was to become the Duke of Sutherland.

The Viscount's birthday was actually on May 10 of that year, but the celebrations, depicted in this photograph taken by Newmarket photographer Frank Griggs, were postponed until July because the Court was still officially in mourning for the late King George V.

In the centre of this rather austere official photograph is the rather bored-looking young Viscount flanked by his father, the Earl of Ellesmere and his mother Lady Ellesmere. On the extreme left of the shot is the Stetchworth estate manager Mr C J Rush.

The birthday celebrations were spread over a day and involved not only the estate employees but also the villagers of Stetchworth.

All the employees, their families, and widows of former employees, around 250 people in all, were treated to lunch and tea was later served to some 500 villagers.

The estate employees presented the Viscount with a cartridge magazine made by London society gunsmiths Purdey and Sons, which held 500 cartridges.

The gift from the estate's tenants was a 14-foot salmon and trout rod and reel.

On the front row of the photograph are members of the family and also pictured are 34 of the oldest employees on the estate all of whom had put in more than 26 years' continuous service. It is likely that all the employees pictured were given a copy of the photograph so they could remember the special day.

They were: J Lancaster, W Jolly, F Starvis, A Osbourn, J Briggs, H Cook, B Turner, R Jaggard, E Pettitt, H Claydon, S Watson, F Linwood, S Briggs, S Daniels, S Shipp, W Webb, J Cooper, W Watson, G Symonds, C Claydon, J Aves, S Aves, E Claydon, C Rush, P Standley, G Barker, E Granger, J Webb, B Benstead, D Claydon, G Swann, J Wells, J Bushnell, J Nichols, R Daniels and J Cutter.