A Bit of Laindon History in Boston

The College Club of Boston is a women’s club that began in December, 1890. It is the oldest women’s club in America. The Club’s Victorian brownstone at 44 Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay was built in 1864. In addition to member functions, the Club is also a Bed & Breakfast in a convenient location just a block from the trees, flowers and swan boats of the Boston Public Garden (1837). A great place to stay, but I am not writing this as an advertisement for the College Club. I am writing about a small piece of the Club’s decoration that comes from Laindon.

I recently spent a night at the College Club and sitting on a shelf in front of a mirror in my room was a loving cup with the following inscription;

Laindon Carnival Association

Presented By

J.P. Grindlay, Esq.


Joan Bowyer

Carnival Queen

For 1939

I had thought that the Laindon Carnival Association may have been part of Boston’s history, but a Google search pointed to England and the Laindon and District Community Archive. Perhaps this information may interest members of the Grindlay and Bowyer families or other members of the community. Please note the attached photos.

Warm regards,

Ralph Hawkins

Singapore – October 22, 2016

Click here to see an update

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  • Hello everyone. Happy New Year to you all.

    An update regarding the Carnival Cup.

    Due to the kindness of Ralph Hawkins and the College Club of Boston, the little cup is on its way home. So a massive thanks to Ralph, who contacted the College Club of Boston and explained the story. And a massive thanks also to the committee of the College Club, especially Edith and Christine who decided to let the little cup come home. I have been in touch with Edith to tell my mum’s story but to also add that I wasn’t looking for the little cup to be returned, only that it was lovely to see it and it wasn’t just a story my sister and I grew up with. It’s very humbling to know that everyone who has played a part in this story, live miles apart, and yet have taken the time to bring a 78 year old story full circle. If it wasn’t for these wonderful people taking a little time, the cup would never have come to light. I will post some pictures of the little cup with family when it’s home.

    Thanks to everyone and to this site. 

    Kind regards – Janet 

    By Janet Penston (02/01/2017)
  • Hi Janet.  This is great news to start the new year.  How wonderful that your mum’s cup is on its way home.  Do you know how it came to be in Boston?  I’m sure many people would like to know the answer.  Best wishes. 

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (02/01/2017)
  • Hi Nina. No sadly I have no idea how the cup came to be in Boston. I somehow think we will ever know of its journey. It’s a wonderful start to the New Year. It will certainly be a story that can now be told to my grandchildren and hopefully theirs (when they get older). I have always loved researching my family history, but never in a million years did I ever imagine that this would happen. All because Ralph Hawkins took a few moments out of his day to look into the little cup sitting on a shelf. Thank goodness for the internet.

    Best wishes Jan

    By Janet Penston (nee Cudbill) (02/01/2017)
  • Hello All.

    What a lovely surprise to get an email from Ralph Hawkins this morning. This Cup was presented to my mum Joan Cudbill (Nee Bowyer). She was the first Carnival Queen in Laindon. I often wondered what happened to it, and for that matter so did my mum. She seemed to think that my granddad had given it back after her year’s reign.

    My sister and I still live in Essex. So, just to clear up a few facts. I was born in 1953. Dad never lived in Dickens drive but I think it was one of his elder brothers or cousins. Dad may have met mum over the garden fence. Dad’s mum lived in a little bungalow on the A127. Railway Approach ah I remember it well, all little pre-fabricated bungalows, we lived at number 73 not 93, from there we moved to Devonshire Road, then some years later, to Bourne Ave.

    I asked mum over the years when we were reminiscing about the past what she thought had happened to the Cup, she just thought that it had been returned. As for me, my thoughts were that it had been pawned!! So I don’t think for a moment that mum “allowed” it to go to the USA. She was quite proud of being the first carnival queen. 

    It certainly is a rare find. I wonder how it got to be so far away! So many questions, but it’s so wonderful to see it and how after all these years of searching for information about mum and her Carnival Queen days, I finally get to see pictures of the Cup. I’m so glad it’s being looked after so well. Brings a tear or two to my eyes.
    Thanks to The College Club for displaying it and looking after it.
    Thank you to everyone for your snippets of my past. And thanks to Ralph you’re a star for sharing your find. Another piece of the puzzle solved.

    Editor:  How lovely to hear from you Janet.  So, it remains a puzzle how your mum’s Cup arrived in Boston.  Such a shame we don’t have a photograph of her to add to our Carnival article, where she is actually listed as being at least Laindon’s 9th Carnival Queen. See following link:-  http://www.laindonhistory.org.uk/page.aspx?id=732

    By Janet Penston (nee Cudbill) (26/11/2016)
  • Me again. Just to correct a small mistake in my previous statement. I’d written that my mum Joan Cudbill (nee Bowyer) was the first carnival queen of Laindon. I meant to write that she was first in the family to be a carnival queen. My aunt, mum’s half sister Sandra was a carnival queen some years later when I was around 8 or 9 years old. I think I was so excited to finally see the pictures of the infamous cup, that my brain was working faster than my fingers could type! So my apologies for the mistake.

    Sadly I don’t have any pictures of my mum in her carnival days. I’ve read the stories of the Laindon carnival, and it’s strange to see mum’s name in print after all these years of searching. The only picture I have of mum from back in the day is of her in her uniform after she joined up (Army) around 1940/1 she was 17+.
    Love this site by the way.

    By Janet Penston (26/11/2016)
  • I remember a Linda Cudbill who was at LHR. I’m sure she was in Mr Angel’s class in 62-63. Doesn’t help the story much though.

    By Richard Haines (23/10/2016)
  • That’s great – the year I was born!

    By Anne Burton (22/10/2016)
  • What a fabulous and rare find. So how did this beautiful cup get to Boston and what was the Carnival Queen – Joan Bowyer doing, allowing it to escape to USA, fascinating tale. I believe the story will soon come to light through the auspices of this website.

    By Richard Haines (22/10/2016)
  • Thank you so much Ralph for providing this information and the excellent photographs.   This is certainly an amazing find.  The question is, how did it get there and why?

    A bit of research has shown that Joan Bowyer married Frederick Cudbill in 1945.  They had a son called Paul (b. 1948), who sadly only lived for 10 years.  And two daughters named Linda (b. 1949) and Janet (b.1954).    In 1949 Joan and Frederick were living at 93 Railway Approach, Laindon.  It appears they had originally been neighbours in Dickens Drive as the Cudbill family lived at No. 35 and the Bowyer family at No. 33.   By 1968 Joan and Frederick were living at 39 Bourne Avenue, Laindon.   Frederick passed away in 1979 and Joan in 2007.

    One possibility could be that Linda or Janet moved to America and took Joan’s ‘Carnival Queen Cup’ with her.  Hopefully somebody can provide the answer or at least shed some light on how and why this beautiful trophy now resides so far away from its original home.       

    By Nina Humphrey(née Burton) (22/10/2016)

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