CWPWRDD DILLAD: Click here to see bigger pictures
Originally from Pontarddulais, Eiona Hammond has been lunching with the London Welsh for years.
“Back in 1947 I came to London as a teacher. I was born and bred in Pontarddulais, but I didn’t want to stay in Wales, I wanted to see the world. I wanted to come to London for an adventure – so off I went! I met my husband in the Welsh Chapel in Chelsea. My mum always told me that the best place to find a husband was at a Welsh Chapel!”
Are these the oldest dresses you own?
This is a very old dress to tell you the truth, and I’m very, very old! This is from 1947, when I lived in digs in Clapham, a teacher from New York came to stay and she lent me this dress. But she insisted that I looked much better wearing the dress because of my red hair.
You don’t throw anything away do you Eiona?
I’m terrible, I know. This dress is old as well, 1957. My husband went to Nigeria, and when he returned the authorities asked us, “Would you take Miss Nigeria, who’s coming over for the Miss World contest, out to dinner?” She was very beautiful and had almond eyes, but she didn’t win.
This dress is fabulous.
I bought this because my husband was chairman of the London Welsh Society at the time and we had a special reception at St James’s Palace for the Prince of Wales in 1969.
This dress is fantastic and the brooch is lovely.
I love this dress because I love the colour, dark red velvet. The chairman of the London Welsh society at the time, William Harries, was a millionaire and he bought this brooch for me. I wore it for a St David’s day dinner at the Savoy.
From what era are these dresses?
These are from the 70s. I went out to buy a dress to go to the House of Commons and I bought both at the same time. One white Grecian dress and one Victorian style black dress.
Did you find yourself going from one dinner to the next?
We were very lucky as we were invited to see the investiture of the Prince of Wales. We were then invited to Buckingham Palace for a garden party. I went with my husband the first time, I’d bought a blue dress and hat the second time but unfortunately my husband, Ron, died just before we went. I wrote to Prince Charles to say that Ron had died and that I would be grateful if Gareth, one of my sons, would be allowed to attend with me in his place. After we arrived at the garden Prince Charles came over and told me, “I was very sorry to hear about your husband”. I thought it was very nice of him to say that.
Do you go out lunching with your friends a lot?
Yes, I do still go out but not as much as I used to of course. I don’t have a partner now and I miss that a lot. But as long as I can go out I will. I have more than enough happy memories and I’ve lived a full life. I’ve been very lucky.
- CWPWRDD DILLAD