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Surrey Vintage Vehicle Society caters for veteran cars, vintage cars & classic cars, as well as commercials and motorcycles.


:: [  S V V S Summer Saunter to Penshurst  Place, Kent  -  July 2013 ] ::

INTRODUCTION:   The " Summer Saunter " was proposed by Chris Cuss, who volunteered to organise it.  Somehow he found that this clashed with his domestic grandfathering plans and he asked the Chairman to take over. The Chairman gladly agreed and suggested that the starting point would be Church Farm after a reviving cuppa. Unbeknown to the Chairman, Mrs Chairman had booked, and paid for, for the annual splash in the Ionian on the same date. So the Chairman had to palm off all the organisation to the unsuspecting Hon Sec, Malcolm Bailey, who took the whole thing seriously and did a wonderful job of tying up the lose ends and making things happen. The following is his SVVS Magazine Report:

The sun shone brightly on 25 SVVS members and friends who set out in 11 cars from the White Hart in Godstone to saunter to Penshurst Place, to be joined by a further 6 people in 3 cars. A day's horse ride from London, this stately home of Viscount De L' Isle has been owned by the Sidney family since 1552. We opted for the shady trees lining the Penshurst Place car park rather than the parking area they had kindly designated for as this was in full sunshine and would clearly remain so.

After a picnic lunch, folk drifted towards the house and garden for what proved to be a most enjoyable visit. One enters the house through the enormous Baron's Hall, complete with original open beamed vaulted roof, central open fire place and lack of any other form of heating. On a very hot day, it was a cool haven; in winter it's said that chicken doesn't thaw. From the Baron's Hall the dining room, still used for large family occasions (and was originally retired to by the ladies when things became too hectic downstairs - some things never change!) leads to a series of family rooms with furnishings collected by the Sidney family over the generations. Penshurst proved to be a magnificent yet homely dwelling, set in a formal garden with some welcome shady trees and Garden tea room.

The society was well represented with an appropriate range of vehicles. Rileys were out in force with Brian and Jennie Shepherd in a Lynx, Tony and Doreen Simmons in their Adelphi and Jonathan and Mary Mountain, together with Sally Woodburn in a Falcon 12/4. Also in the stakes for most regal car were Tony and Thelma Oakes' majestic Humber, Brian and Mrs Pooley's superb Alvis TA21 drophead, Jon and Sue Quiney's Triumph Gloria and Malcolm Wards 'young-timer' Merc 500SEC. The other young pretender was Malcolm Bailey's Opel Manta. Ian and Jancis McLennan set out from Godstone in their magnificent 4 1/2 Litre Bentley but sadly suffered fuel vapourisation in the heat. Ian sorted the problem but wisely decided to head for home. Being 'bombed' on the way to Penshurst seemed to endow Alan Rothwell's MGB with extra-ornithological powers of attraction, much to the delight of Alan and friend Mick Fitzmorris. The MGB was kept company by Norman and Maureen Conrad's Austin Healey Sprite MkII 'cousin', while Julian and Thelma duly arrived in the Alderton MG-YA. Other sporting cars were Robin and Marion Vince's 1954 Morgan, looking remarkably similar to a more recent model on the far side of the field, and Maurine and Brian Daley's now continent Triumph TR5 Surrey.

Thanks to Chris Cuss for the choice of venue and making the contacts: few of those present had been to Penshurst Place previously and it proved to be an excellent venue. It was resolved that the saunter should be repeated at a different, but similarly distant venue next year. Now, if we could just have the weather on-side again!                                                                     Malcolm Bailey

The photos below are by Tony Oakes. Please click on any thumbnail picture to see the full size picture. To return to the thumbnails please click the Explorer "Back" arrow (top left of screen).  

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