The Crystal Palace Asphalt Roller Skating Rink,

The Grange at Midhurst,

and Mr &. Mrs G. H. Whitelocke.

By

Fred Peskett.

 

            The West Sussex town of Midhurst is probably better known to most people as the location of Cowdray Park, the home of British Polo, but for me it is the “Grange” a building once a very stately home, it is now the venue of many of the towns activities including, a bi-monthly Antiques Fair, a monthly market of collectibles, antiques, bric-a-brac and postcards. A quarterly Antiquarian Book Pair which also includes ephemera and yet more postcards, and to cap it all a fortnightly indoor car-boot which covers just about everything. Each event at the Grange is supported by at least a hundred plus stalls spread over four large halls.

            Visits to these events have over several years provided me with a wealth of exhibition related and other goodies, including the now famous 1895 Crystal Palace Cup Final Programme found tucked in a Palace guide which I purchased for just £5, the Great Exhibition two handled “Loving Cup” which is eight inches in diameter by 12 inches high with a black transfer of the exhibition building around the outside, a mauve transfer view of the interior of Palace including Osier's Fountain on the inside and a brown transfer of the Prize Medal of the Exhibition on the inside base.        Made by Copeland in 1851, it cost £100 but according to an antiques expert it is valued at well over six times that amount. At one of the Car Boot sales five weeks ago I found a 1938 Meccano Number 7 Outfit, still strung in the original sales box and in pristine condition. It cost the huge price of £35.00 So it came as no surprise when I went to the Monthly Market on the 17th February this year to notice on one of the tables a cardboard box 9” wide x 12” long x 2½” deep with “CRYSTAL PALACE ETC” pencilled on the lid. A look inside gave me one of those three-penny bit, half-crown moments, since much of the contents related to the Crystal Palace Asphalt Roller Skating Rink and to Mr and Mrs George Henry Whitelocke, who were Champion Roller Skating Dancers in the early 1900’s.

 

            

 

Left:- A photograph of the cover of a piece of sheet music composed by George Henry Whitelocke, a covering letter from Escott & Co the publisher dates this music to 1904.

Right:- A photographic postcard of Mrs and Mrs G. H. Whitelocke, which is post marked East Dulwich, 12th May 1911.

 

            There was masses of Crystal Palace ephemera including five advertising posters each 2’ 6” wide x 3’ 6” high when unfolded, these cover the period from 1906 to 1911, one of them relates to a Roller Skating event for the Festival of Empire Exhibition in 1911. Apart from many family photographs, there is a collection of letters from various music publishing companies, George Henry Whitelocke was also a composer of dance music to be used for roller skating, some of these letters are quite enthusiastic about his compositions, others are downright rude, saying that he hasn’t a hope in hell of getting them published, these letters run from 1880 to 1899, there is one piece however, which seems to have made the grade, called “The Jockey’s Patrol”, there is a letter telling him that it had been added to the repertoire of Wellington’s Light Cavalry Military Band. They played at the Italian Exhibition 1888, the Spanish Exhibition 1889, the French Exhibition 1890, the Naval Exhibition 1891, the Horticultural Exhibition 1892 and the Gardening and Forestry Exhibition 1893.

            The Light Cavalry Military Band was made up from ex Guardsmen musicians, who looked splendid in their blue, scarlet and gold uniforms. There are a total of 98 items in the collection for which I paid £50. this works out at 51p per item, quite a bargain?

 

 

Top:- A copy of the original artwork for Mr & Mrs Whitelocke’s business card, shown about half size. This dates to 1910/1911.

 

© Exhibition Study Group 2012

Index