Once upon a time there were two brothers called Reg and Eric Sparkes and they were in the business of asphalt, tarmac and paving in general.
In 1935 Kathie, the wife of Reg Sparkes gave birth to a baby boy who was christened Roger. As a result of the birth Kathie became quite ill and was detained in hospital for an extended period which caused Reg to become depressed. To cheer him up some of his friends and colleagues arranged a supper party at the Windmill Hotel, Chiswick, to ‘wet the baby’s head’. There were about fifteen altogether and the supper consisted of pea soup, steak and kidney pie with veg, followed by cheese and celery. This was swilled down with beer from jugs which were in abundance on the table.
During the supper Reg was presented with a silver beer tankard engraved with the baby’s name to commemorate his birth.
Towards the end of the evening and because those present had enjoyed the meal, booze, the company and in particular the conversation, it was suggested by a member of the party that there should be a repeat supper when Roger was one year old, some thought it should be at each bank holiday, whilst others had their own ideas.
During the following days the telephones were busy whilst arrangements were being made for the next steak and kidney pie supper which was to be at the end of the following month but exclusively for those who were connected with ‘black top’ and road building Reg Sparkes said he was not entirely happy about this as he would like to include his very best friend Leslie Fogg who had attended the first supper. Leslie was the London Manager of the Bank of Spain and Reg thought his presence at the supper might prove to be beneficial in any discussions that might take place. IT was therefore agreed that Leslie Fogg could be the exception to the rule.
The supper was arranged to be held in a private dining room at the Windmill Hotel with the menu the same as the first supper. It was at this supper that agreement was reached to form an association to promote friendship and extend goodwill amongst members. Two officers were appointed under the chairmanship of Reg Sparkes even though the association had no name at this stage. During the following week Reg and his officers were having a lunchtime drink in a London pub and discussing possible names but nothing came of it, that is, until they left the pub ‘Brahms and Liszt’. They stood on the pavement across the road about to bid farewell when Reg pointed to the sign over the pub they had just come out of. It was The Paviers’ Arms. “There’s our name” he said, “The Paviers”, and so it came to be, and they went back inside to ‘wet the baby’s head’ again.
Two suppers on and in the depth of winter, the newly formed Paviers were leaving the Windmill Hotel when they noticed a watchman in a little hut with a large coke brazier burning away. They walked across to warm their hands (or more likely pee on his coke fire – this was a prank often played on watchmen in those days because the stench it caused was un-bearable). On arriving at the hut, one of the Paviers recognised the watchman as a person who had known better times, and asked him what he was doing working as a watchman guarding a hole in the road. The watchman told the Paviers that his company had gone broke and the missus and the kids have to be fed somehow. This touched the heart of one of the Paviers who took his hat and asked the members to each put in half-a-crown. One member said that he did not have half-a-crown so he was invited to look in his hip pocket. Reluctantly he pulled out a ten-bob note and put it in the hat but before he could get any change, the hat had gone. The amount collected was fifty shillings, which was almost two weeks’ wages for a watchman, and this was handed to the watchman, who with tears in his eyes thanked the Paviers for their generosity. “We should do this more often” said one of the Paviers. “Not too often I hope” said the Pavier putting his wallet back in his hip pocket; and that was the beginning of the Benevolent Fund.
An offertory box was made and this was passed around the table at each supper for the Paviers to contribute half-a-crown each to the Benevolent Fund.
It was suggested by a Pavier that The Paviers’ Society should have a badge of distinction to display on a tie or blazer and on headed notepaper. A sub-committee was elected to look into this and produce a suitable design that would portray the image of the society. The result was the badge as it is seen today. A shield divided into four by a vertical cross and each space depicting (a) a windmill, (b) a beer tankard, (c) a coke brazier, (d) a hammer and a maul, crossed. The windmill representing The Windmill Hotel where The Paviers’ had their first meetings; A beer tankard, as presented to Reg Sparks to mark the birth of his son Roger (which was the real reason for the meeting in the first place); The watchman’s coke brazier around which the very first charitable gesture was made; And the crossed hammer and maul, which are the working tools of a Pavier; and that is how The Paviers’ Society grew from strength to strength into the wonderful organisation it is today and every member proud to be a part of it.
Ironically Roger Sparkes who was the subject figure in the formation of The Paviers’ Society took no interest whatsoever in his father’s business or The Paviers’ Society and when he became of age went to live in Scotland.
This is the story of the beginning of The Paviers’ Society as it has been told to me piece by piece over many years. I sincerely believe it to be true and I hope you do also, unless you know someone with a better story!