50th anniversary of Wheatley's ownership of the Merry Bells

  • The dedication plaque to Mary Blake
  • Tim Blightman talks about the history and displays the Temperance (but alcoholic) beer brewed by the Shotover Estate for the anniversary
  • Tim Blightman with Mary Blake's two daughters, Samantha Martell (right with husband David Martell) and Carol Blake-Ransford (left with husband Glen Ransford)
  • A wider group of people present
Archive Notes:

50th anniversary of Wheatley's ownership of the Merry Bells.

The Merry Bells was acquired by the village from the Shotover Estate on 3rd August 1970, although it took a few years to pay off the consideration.

Tim Blightman said that the large planned celebration had had to be cancelled due to Covid but, nevertheless The Merry Bells committee was using this small gathering to recognise this anniversary and the role which Mary Blake had played over this entire period. The Merry Bells had been built by Shotover Estate in 1888 as a temperance hotel to seek to curb the drunkenness which was prevalent at this time across most of the country. The use of the building as a temperance hotel dwindled, and finally ceased in 1932, being replaced as a place for meetings. In the early 1960s the management committee began an approach to Shotover in order that this building should belong to the village.

Mary Blake had been involved with the Merry Bells throughout this entire period in almost every role and now the chairman. The current committee had decided to acquire a new bench with a plaque dedicating Mary's extraordinary service to the community, not only with the Merry Bells but also as a parish and district councillor.

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