August 27th, 1912

Mon, Aug 27, 2012, 01:00

FROM THE ARCHIVES:With the Houses of Parliament in recess and a temporary lull in politics, society events like Horse Show week came to the fore a century ago, the social whirl beginning with a very rainy day, and a little drama, at Leopardstown Races, as recorded by “Our Lady Correspondent” whose main task was to describe at length what ladies were wearing. – JOE JOYCE

IT REQUIRED the courage of a Spartan to brave the torrents of rain which our unhappy season reserved for the Leopardstown Meeting yesterday. Indeed, it was quite astonishing to find such a gathering assembled on the swampy course.

Lady Paget [wife of the British Army commander in Ireland] motored with her party early to the course, and before the first race there was quite a large crowd. The hills were scarcely visible, and the only touch of colour in the scene was from a line of “bookies” umbrellas beside the stand.

Everywhere one turned one saw umbrellas and waterproofs, and even oilskins and “sou’westers” had a good show. The enthusiastic racing fold were ankle deep in mud in the paddock; but, nothing daunted, the ladies seemed to experience no discomfort. It was not an artistic gathering, but it is yet worthy of note that so many women can make the most of a situation, and look smart.

The oilskins, worn so much at Cowes this season, were very much en évidence, and looked decidedly well, while the sou’wester has a certain cachet on a pretty head. After the first race some excitement was caused by an outbreak of fire in the pavilion, where General Sir Arthur and Lady Paget were entertaining a large party to lunch. The guests, including the Marchioness of Ormonde, Lord and Lady Beatrice Herbert, the Hon. Mrs. Ronald Greville, General Pitcairn Campbell and his daughter, Mrs. Beamish, and Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton Stubber, all took an active part in removing the furniture.

Lord Herbert and Mr. Luke White were to be seen on the roof pouring water down the chimney, while the Marchioness of Ormonde was seen carrying the Regimental Cup (the silver Irish mether to be competed for) from the scene of the fire.

The ladies helped to take away the silver and handsome flower stands, and after some little time were able to resume their luncheon peaceably. Later some merriment was caused when the gentlemen missed their cigarette cases, and were obliged to seek them bashfully in the ladies cloakroom. On the whole, most of those present made a fair attempt at enjoying themselves despite their surroundings. The band of the 1st Royal Fusiliers (City of London Regiment) played during the afternoon.

The Marchioness of Ormonde wore a grey costume, braided with black, over which she had a cerise satin wrap, with facings of mauve silk, and she had a mauve straw toque, with long mauve wings. The Marchionesse Conyngham had a dark tailor-made gown and black bonnet hat.