Malvern & Colwall Branch
30th July 2016: Malvern Walk with a Dame Laura Knight theme(click on image(s) to enlarge view)
This time, their third Walk, Mike and Linda Averill offered us a guided tour of the town centre with extra focus on Mrs Betteridge’s Donkies and ‘Malvern Festival at Lawnside School’. With illustrations from LK’s work, photos from the Festivals 1929 to ‘39 and with quotations they led a number of valiant walkers from Priory Park up to Rosebank Gardens and the Buzzards. Thence passing Mount Pleasant Hotel they tackled the steep slopes of Happy Valley, passing Valley House, to St Anne’s Well, as they went comparing Lauras ‘Lyrics’ and landscapes with present heavily wooded vistas. Descending then past Belescuardo House, where Laura is said to have had a studio in the 30’s, the party headed down to the Winter Gardens where they were joined by more ‘strollers’. The last lap of our tour was via the Bandstand to Avenue Road and ‘Lawnside’, noting en route the significantly refurbished ‘Elmslie House’ ( formerly ‘Lawnside Grove’ where GBS stayed and where in 1932 Laura painted his portrait) Thanks to the generosity of a new member who lives at ‘Lawnside’, we were able to stroll the grounds and envisage the social gatherings of the Festival in the 30’s. Mike Averill had located online ( LSE Political and Economic Library) contemporary archive photos which he and Linda used to illustrate the partying glamour of those times!! Afterwards we were fortunate to be able to go into the entrance hall of the House to see their private photographic collection.
Onwards and upwards, we headed back for tea to The Theatre Restaurant. As we passed through Priory Park we paused to look at an arc of saplings whose leaves quivered in breezy sunshine. These 3 young trees, ‘Prunus autumnalis’, our Society had donated to the Park in memory of our late colleague Richard Harward. They were his favourite tree and reminded us of a very dear friend who loved life and living things.
Over a cuppa we reviewed a successful afternoon’s walk, enjoying reconnections with friends we had not seen for a while. We toasted our guides for a stimulating and nostalgic tour of DLK in the Malverns. Thank you very much Linda and Mike for another momentous walk!
Heather w - August 2016
With thanks to Bill Crouch for the photos