Stephanie Hyde Parker's Scrapbook

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November 1913 saw the start of the London “Season”. Making her debut into polite society this year was Stephanie Hyde Parker, only daughter of The Rev. Sir William and Lady Hyde Parker of Melford Hall. One can imagine not only her excitement at the numerous dances and house parties which would require a wardrobe of new clothes, but also her trepidation – would she be popular and fit in with the other debutantes, would her dance card be filled, but most importantly, would she receive many invitations?

Stephanie had a beautiful red, leather-bound book, with her initials stamped in gold on the cover (probably a gift from her proud parents), which she used to record the events she attended.

Over the coming months we will reveal some of the details of the 18 year-old’s impressions from that book, and how things began to change as the clouds of war started to gather.

By the time Christmas came, Stephanie had spent some time away at various house parties, firstly she and her mother were guests at Lordington House in Emsworth, Hampshire where, her sketching leads us to believe she had great fun playing roulette as well as other gambling games. Hedenham Rectory, Bungay with the Brindley Family, not too far from home, was the next visit. Looking at her book, this was a small party, where they played badminton and went for walks; she illustrates the page with beautiful sketches of a windmill and the church.

In contrast the final visit of 1913 was to Basing Park in Hampshire, which was a much larger affair, centred around the Alton Lady Patronesses’ Ball. From the illustrations she sketched, not only did she attend the ball, but also went riding and during one expedition must have seen a kingfisher, as he bears pride of place over a photograph of Alton House.

It was then home for Christmas and New Year with the anticipation of many more exciting plans for 1914, starting with the Suffolk County Ball in January.