Compass on a whip handle
Several years ago I wrote about a whip with a compass in the handle : Read more here

So, I was pleased to find this Champion & Wilton saddle flask with a space in its lid for a compass :

Champion & Wilton saddle flask

Champion & Wilton flask

Champion & Wilton were a prestigious company of saddlers, famous for sidesaddles, but I wonder if this flask was a military officer’s private purchase.
There are more details at http://www.sportingcollection.com/attire/flasks/flask018/flask018.html
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Old railway poster foxhunting

This is a poster for the hunting season from the Great Western Railway.

It advertises reduced rates for horses and for grooms – I’m not sure what that says about grooms’ status at the time…

After an afternoon trawling the internet for references I have seen several examples of purpose-built horse boxes for the railways. There is one at Swindon railway museum that has space for three horses and accomodation for three grooms. It’s not far from here, I should visit the museum to see it.

I had always assumed that in the days before motorised horse transport everyone would hack to meets. Many people did, of course – apparently Melton Mowbray was such a popular centre for hunting because it was in the middle of three hunts, the Quorn, the Cottesmore and the Belvoir. In the early twentieth century a keen hunt follower could hunt six days a week.
Ladies could have their groom ride their horse to and from a meet, special groom’s pads would fit on the sidesaddles converting them for use astride.

Rail transport of horses for hunting and racing reached a peak in the 1920′s to 1930′s. GWR proudly advertised that they could transport horse & rider from Paddington in London to hunting country in the New Forest in one & a half hours.

It was still a major undertaking, if you have ever spent any time trying to load a reluctant horse into a box just imagine if the box were attached to a steam locomotive… Maybe they loaded the horses far away from the engine & coupled the box to the train afterwards…. I need to research this further.

hatbox

A leather hat box

The equipment required was fairly remarkable too – travelling light wasn’t really an option. As well as ordinary tack there would be a top hat in leather box, heavy leather suitcases, wooden boot trees (lovely, but not exactly as light as modern plastic & metal). And there would be flasks, sandwich cases, rugs….
A couple of years ago I saw a beautiful small portable saddle horse made of oak with cupboards underneath and a top section that could fold out into a table. It had wheels and a metal loop at one end where it would be anchored in the train carriage so that it could not roll around.

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collection of hunting flasks
While photographing some saddle flasks for my website my thoughts turned to the stuff we put in them.

Now, I can see the need for sustenance & possibly a bit of Dutch courage when out hunting – hence traditional combinations like port & brandy or a Whisky Mac. Innovation isn’t always a good thing – I have seen (and regrettably tasted) – framboise & port, this is never going to be a classic, and peach schnapps? well….
Double ended hunt flask

This double ended flask would have been a great help in the “what to carry” dilemma. Sadly, I sold it a while ago & have not seen another.

I used to favour sloe gin – but since discovering the recipe for a cocktail called a Millionaire, my stocks have been depleted.

Millionaire No.1

Millionaire

1/3 Jamaica Rum

1/3 Apricot Brandy

1/3 Sloe Gin

Juice of 1 lime

1 Dash Grenadine

Shake & Strain into Double Cocktail Glass.

This recipe comes from the 1960 UK Barkeepers’ Guild Guide to Drinks, which is full of valuable advice about clean fingernails & decorum.

Actually, that reminds me – I have a travelling cocktail set which I should photograph for the site…

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