1864 - Kings Head, Chigwell
The first known firm's outing was on July 11th 1864 to the Kings Head in Chigwell, Essex, a pub made famous by its inclusion in Charles Dickens' ‘Barnaby Rudge' as the Maypole Inn, written in 1840.
The party included not only staff but also suppliers, notably Fereday, Wedderburn and Mr Bastick, believed to be John Fereday, Jabez Wedderburn and Richard Bastick. In the photograph right Thomas Herbert is seated centre with beard and tophat, sitting on the ground are his three sons (L to R) William, George and Herbert.
The firm's letter book records a confirmation of the booking with the landlord George Basham, with the request ‘Please ….inform me if you have Cricket Materials Trap Ball etc'.
A total of 24 dined at 2 o'clock at a cost of 4/6 each, those attending being: Thomas Herbert, George Herbert, William Herbert, Herbert Herbert, Mr Stephens, Mr Donovan, Draper, Hirst, Fereday, Norrington, Taylor, Brooks, Bond, Hewlett, Wedderburn, Paynter, Mr Lewin, Harry, Brooks Jnr, Painter Jnr, Mr Bastick, Overton, Harrison & Clark.
The following was reported in a local newspaper:
On Saturday last, the workmen in the employ of Mr. Thos. Herbert, scale maker and gas fitter, &c, of St. George's street, St. George's East and King's Cross, were entertained by their employer in a manner that must tend to increase the good feeling which manifestly already exists, and which should always characterise the relations of employers and employees.
The party left King's Cross at an early hour in the morning, calling at St. George street to take up those engaged in that branch of the business, and then drove to the King's Head at Chigwell which was the place of rendezvous. Arriving there exactly at twelve o'clock, and it wanting a couple of hours to the time of dinner, an extension of the drive as far as Abridge was determined upon, and proved not the least pleasing portion of the day's journey. A brief stay was made in the village, to the pecuniary profit of the juvenile inhabitants, amongst whom a quantity of the bronze currency of the realm was scrambled and otherwise distributed, and Chigwell was reached again, with, it is needless to say, well-sharpened appetites which fitted all Mr. Herbert's guests to enjoy the good things which had been provided.
Dinner which was provided for about thirty was served in the large room overlooking the church, and was in every respect creditable to the cuisine of the King's Head, and was followed, after ample justice had been done to it, by a choice and bountiful dessert. Mr. Herbert, who, of course, occupied the chair, then gave the usual loyal toasts, and the health of Mr. Herbert was briefly proposed by one of the visitors, and received in a most cordial manner by all present. This part of the proceedings was wisely curtailed as much as possible, to allow the longer time for outdoor enjoyments – the company therefore after doing honour to their entertainer adjourned to Mr. Basham's cricket field, where the usual athletic sports were shared in with great zeal by the majority of the party, the minority, to whom the dolce far neinte was more acceptable, being free to enjoy it in quiet rambles along the rural lanes of the pretty village of Chigwell, or in watching the hay-carrying operations going on around them. At seven o'clock, the party reassembled for tea, and having again broke up for a short time, again met at dusk for a more formal acknowledgement of the pleasures of the day. It then transpired that the occasion was something more than the ordinary treat, because it inaugurated a new era in Mr. Herbert's business, he having recently associated with himself in partnership his son, Mr. George Herbert. The toast of "Prosperity to the firm of Herbert and Son” was therefore proposed, with the expression of a hope that the business prosperity which had attended the labours of the senior member in the past would be increased tenfold in the future; and a most enthusiastic welcome having been given to the toast, it was neatly responded to by Mr. George Herbert with whose name it was specially associated. "The Ladies, with the health of Mrs. Herbert, Miss Herbert, and the future Mrs. George Herbert,” was proposed in a very amusing speech by one of the workmen who had been throughout the day the recognised "funny man” of the party. The return journey was then commenced, and King's Cross was reached a little before midnight by the last remaining portion of the company, a very pleasant day having been spent by all, and one which cannot fail to be looked back upon by Messrs. Herbert and their employees with unmixed pleasure, on account of the cordiality and unity of feeling displayed on all hands, and we trust also an account of the successful results to follow from the partnership which it inaugurated.