Neil has recently discovered this interesting article in the Woman magazine from 24th May 1952. This was about two months after the premiere of Walt Disney's Story of Robin Hood and his Merrie Men in which Richard Todd (1919-2001) had appeared as the outlawed hero.
The magazine contains details of Richard Todd former home at Wayside House, Pinkneys Green in Maidenhead, where he had lived with his first wife Kitty (Catherine Grant Bogle) (1926-1997). The couple had met at the Dundee Rep shortly after WWII and were appearing together in the American comedy Claudia. 'Kitty' was the daughter of William Grant Bogle a steel brass founder.
Richard and Kitty were married on 13th September 1949 at St. Columba's church, Pont Street, Chelsea. They had two children Peter and Fiona.
|Richard Todd with his wife Catherine and 'Baron' their dog.|
From the article it appears that Wayside House was in a bad state of repair when the film star and his Scottish wife first purchased it. The magazine reporter Edith Blair, goes into great detail about how Richard and Kitty spent many weeks rubbing turpentine and linseed oil into the wooden beams and eventually furnishing their new home.
In Richard Todd's first volume of autobiography Caught In The Act : The Story Of My Life - page 272 has:
On the following Saturday, 12 August, we celebrated our wedding anniversary. It was our lucky weekend. On the Sunday we had decided to drive down to Hurley for supper at the Old Bell, and had stopped at Pinkneys Green to let the dogs have a run in the woodland there while we gazed covetously at our dream-house, Wayside.
While we looked, a bent old figure, almost a caricature of Old Father Time, even to the scythe he carried, came shuffling by on the open grass space opposite house. He was clad in black trousers, long black coat, and high-crowned bowler hat that I had not seen since the days of Mr Prout, our gardener at Holsworthy in my childhood.
As he drew level with us he touched his hat and gave us a gummy smile. 'Nice house, that,' he said.
'Lovely,' I said. 'Do you know anything about it?'
'Oh, ar,' he replied. 'When I were a boy it were the Shoulder of Mutton Inn. Very old. Dick Turpin, the highwayman, used to stay there.'
'Ar. This grass ride were the old main road from London to Bath. Very dangerous for robbers. Jack Scott, the highwayman, were taken in the Shoulder of Mutton and hanged at Tyburn. That big bit at the side were the barn. Dick Turpin's Black Bess would have been stabled there.'
If we had thought it charming before, now it positively entranced us.
Richard and Kitty became the owners of Wayside (their first house) at the end of September 1950. The following Spring, Richard appeared in a movie about another famous English outlaw - Robin Hood.
In the picture (above) Catherine is holding what appears to be a book with the title The Dam Busters. This could be the book written by Paul Bricknel and published in 1951. Together with Guy Gibson's Enemy Coast Ahead (1946) these two books would form the basis of Michael Anderson's classic war film The Dam Busters (1955) in which Richard Todd would appear as Wing Commander Guy Gibson.
Special thanks to Neil for supplying the information from the Woman magazine.
To read more the life and career of Richard Todd please click here.