Over a long weekend, on the 20th, 21st and 22nd May 2016, the Club’s 125th Anniversary celebrations kicked off in earnest in New York. The weekend attracted OBs and partners who live in New York and along the eastern seaboard, as well as those from further afield in the USA and Canada, and a good number from the UK and even one family from the UAE! The local DVP, Miles Young (63-72) had put together a varied and most enjoyable programme which gave plenty of opportunity to get to know one another and to enjoy each other’s company.
The first event on the Friday was a visit to the South Street Seaport Museum, which included the opportunity to go on board the ship ‘Peking’. We heard how the indigenous Lenape tribe on the arrival of Europeans in the 16th and 17th Centuries had played an active role in growing the trade industry. One of the most famous Europeans to visit was of course Henry Hudson who, in 1609, came up the river which later took his name. At the time he was an Englishman working for the Dutch East India Company. Seeing the potential for trade and a new life, settlers quickly started to arrive and a trading post flourished as a Dutch Colony named ‘New Amsterdam’. Then in 1664, British warships sailed into the harbour and the Dutch Commander surrendered, with the settlement soon being renamed ‘New York’, after the King’s brother, the Duke of York.
The OB party then set out on a guided walk of Lower Manhattan taking in the Federal Bank Reserve, Wall Street, and Battery Park with all enjoying a convivial lunch at the historic Fraunces Tavern. After lunch we visited the National September 11 Memorial and Museum, which is a most moving and thought provoking place. That evening Miles very kindly hosted us to dinner at his home which was a real treat, and much appreciated by all.
After a leisurely start on the Saturday we met for lunch at the iconic Oyster Bar, in Grand Central Station. This was followed by a tour of the amazing Frick collection on the Upper East Side. The collection was gathered together by the industrialist Henry Frick (1849 – 1919) in his mansion overlooking Central Park. We were all blown away by the number of masterpieces which adorned the walls, by such artists as Rembrandt, Gainsborough, Constable, Turner and Whistler to name but a few.
The main event of the weekend was a formal Dinner at the Harvard Club to mark the 125th Anniversary of the Club’s official formation. Fifty-nine Old Bedfordians and their guests sat down to a delicious dinner, washed down by superb American wines from the Napa, Sonoma and Willamette valleys. This was kindly hosted by Hugh Lloyd-Williams (68-77) who is a member of this famous Club; the evening started with Miles Young welcoming everybody, the Head Master then gave a short presentation on the School to update those present as several had not visited for a number of years. On moving to the tables Grace was said by the Chairman of the Club, Chris Williams (68-79), and the loyal toast to both the Office of the President and the Queen, by Miles Young. After the meal Doctor Andrew O’Shaughnessy (67-78) gave a very informative and amusing speech on the period of history (1775 – 1783) that he covers in his book The Men Who Lost America. This was followed by a toast to the Old Bedfordians Club by the Head Master and to the School, by the President of the Club, Sandy Gray (59-64).
The following attended the Dinner: Miles Young (63-72), George Straubs (60-69), Margaret Alvord-Straubs, Sarah Filhol, Mark Yeomans (74-76), Finn Longinotto (57-62), Christopher Blackman (52-57), Lesa Blackman, Natalie Blackman, Martin Harmer (64-71), Sue Harmer, Chris Williams (68-79), Rob Kendrick (62-71), Jane Kendrick, Val Nicholson (51-55), Nona Nicholson, David Brewis (97-07), Katharine Brewis, Adrian Dewey (86-89), Jan Dewey, Erin Dewey, William Kier (97-08), Jessica Bridgman, Hugh Lloyd Williams (68-77), Greg Eckersley (78-83), Kate Eckersley, Emma Eckersley, Summer Elbaradhesi, Robin Bligh (53-56), Mary Bligh, Rich King (68-77), John Lloyd-Still (49-54), Dorothy Lloyd-Still, Tim Wood (51-61), Christopher Wood, Rob Pinkham (78-79), Margaret Pinkham, Karl Wust (47-53), Colette Wust, Jake Morland (89-94), Harriet Alexander, Vernon Tyerman (57-59), Bill Carr (42-47), Patricia Carr, Charles Mills (85-86), Vivake Bhalla (87-93), Miriam Hess, David Walker (92-01), Whitney Bounty, Simon Wedgbury (74-81), Catherine Wedgebury, Ali Malek (68-74), Brenda Roberts, Peter Roberts, James Hodgson, Sandy Gray (59-64), Andrew O’Shaughnessy (67-78), Simon Michellepis (83-86) and Richard Garrett.
On Sunday, the group enjoyed a fabulous brunch on the S.S. Manhattan, not to mention some stunning views of the city from out on the water, as well as a close up view of the Statue of Liberty! All agreed that this provided the perfect finale to the weekend before everybody had to sadly leave in separate directions to make their way home. A huge thank you to all those involved in making this event such a success, and for everybody for getting behind it, and to many for travelling a long way to join in – a lot of fun was had by all! In particular, we would like to especially thank Miles and his team for coordinating all aspects of the weekend. We all wish him well as he hands over in New York and makes his way back to the UK to become Warden on New College, Oxford. If you are interested in organising a similar event in your part of the world do let us know. We are delighted, that on the back of this weekend, Finn Longinotto (57-62) has already started planning a similar gathering in Florida in early 2018. We will of course keep you informed as plans take shape – we hope that you may join us.