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North Mymms - Parish and People
by Dorothy Colville

Chapter 30 - A Sunday Afternoon Visitor

From The Lipton Story, By Alex Waugh, published 1951 by Cassell.

Upon his guests (at Osidge, his sixty-acre estate with a history going back 700 years, in the village of Southgate), however, he made few demands. There was only one period of a visit that he regarded as a parade and that was Sunday after lunch, when he assembled all his guests to drive out and distribute chocolate to the children of North Mymms. It had begun, this custom, fifteen years before when his car had broken down at Cooper’s Green and the children had shown such friendliness and concern that he had promised to return the following Sunday.

He kept his promise, and continued Sunday after Sunday to motor out, his car stacked with chocolates. As many as five cars have been known to make the expedition. Louis would appear with a great stack of fur coats over his arm and every guest would find one to fit him. Lipton led the way perched high in a 1910 Mercedes, in his fur coat and goggles, driving at a pace that many of his guests found terrifying.

The chocolates were stored in hampers, and he would distribute them himself, deploying all his old skill of showmanship, opening the top box, taking out a chocolate, examining it critically with cocked head, then biting it in half, closing his eyes thoughtfully and nodding his head approvingly as he handed the other half to the nearest child. Then he would form them into a queue; there would be as many as 300 sometimes … So much a feature of the neighbourhood were these expeditions that a local minister complained that he could no longer get a congregation for Sunday school and urged Lipton to complete his tour well before three o’clock.

Dorothy Colville, 1971


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Index - North Mymms Parish and People

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