Today and the 20 year history of British Day
This year British Flair (formerly British Day) celebrates a quarter of a century in Hamburg. This calls for a celebratory Pimms! The event still offers you a wonderful insight into the British way of life showcasing many typical and traditional highlights such as the highland games, throwing wellington boots, listening to stories with Paddington, street theatre, popular and classical music, demonstrations of typical sports, such as cricket and rugby, and animals including horses and dogs and sometimes birds of prey. For the first time Hamburg Festival Orchestra led by Ian Mardon will be performing under the stars with our favourite conductor Russell Harris.
The 20 year history of British Day
1991 – Peter Rogers met with Axel Riecke at the Anglo German Club and British Day was born – we had a home at the Hamburger Polo Club. These four names have been woven into the fabric of BD for 20 years! Cricket, rugby, golf, welly wanging, croquet, darts, scottish dancing, bagpipes, teas and lunches with cucumber sandwiches all arrived at the polo club on that Saturday afternoon in September! We had 10 companies taking part and 100’s of visitors.
1992 – “The Queen” came to British Day amidst much excitement as she drove to the clubhouse in a Rolls Royce waving to all. Comedy, tug-o-war, polo and a regimental band, thanks to the Anglo German Club, had been added. It lasted all day! Over 1500 attended.
1993 – Sue Austin transferred from the sandwiches, tea and cakes stand to become the Organiser of the event. 18 years later no-one knows as much about its soul nor has nourished it more. BD was on its way in a steep climb for years to come and made its first donations totalling DM 20,000 to the Elternselbsthilfegruppe fuer krebskranke Kinder. We had a winner event.
1994 – The event was opened by The British Ambassador Sir Nigel Broomfield and Tim Boswell M.P., UK Ministry for Education. The Blarney made their first appearance and Irish folk music was set to stay. Another sport was added namely archery where visitors could have a go under the watchful eye of Archery Direct experts. Punch and Judy became the children’s favourite. A visitor quote: “I only came for an hour to say I had been, but I stayed all day – there was so much to do”.
1995 – Sheepdog trials, clay pigeon shooting and the Colgate hot air balloon all came to BD. Verity Ruecker joined the team to help Sue. The first phase had been completed, 1996 was to be different. Quote: “You British sell yourselves so well and then give the money to a German charity” from a German businessman. We liked that! 52 companies and associations took part.
1996 – British Day became a misnomer but kept its name. The day became a weekend and it acquired a second part. The BD Open Air Concert on the Saturday night was born in the form of the Last Night of the Proms as performed in the Albert Hall in London – Robert Stehli directed the Hamburger Mozart-Orchester, sponsored by Kalus BMC. The first souvenir brochure was published. New activities included The Grand Theatre of Lemmings and Shire Falconry from England and a helicopter from the 1st Army Air Corps, which fascinated kids and oldies alike.
1997 – Burgermeister Dr. Voscherau opened BD and some gigantic Scots caused a scene by throwing tree trunks around, they called it their Highland Games. They have been with us ever since. Visitor numbers reached 17 000 (including 3 000 promenaders for the concert). A new musical measurement was developed – the Verity Test. Only understood by organisers!
1998 – Fruehschoppen Jazz joined the musical entertainment and the Oldtimer car parade became a popular attraction with the visitors. We opened our PIMM’s Bar with barman Bob who is still with us. In the spirit of Cool Britannia the top London Club “The Ministry of Sound” was invited by BD to Hamburg and thrilled some 1000 clubbers on the Friday night. As a result of the success in Hamburg we were invited to help another organiser in Dusseldorf and a sister event British Days + Country Fair was born in Burg Linn, Krefeld.
1999 – BAT took over the sponsorship of the concert with the request to engage an English Orchestra. Thus started the era of the City of London Sinfonia and an English soloist Deborah Hawksley with the Monteverdi-Chor Hamburg. Nicolae Moldoveanu conducted his first of many performances. BD reached cult status and became a must on the Hamburger calendar.
2000 – Our tenth birthday was celebrated by inviting the ReBeatles, a tribute band to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Beatles first appearance on the Reeperbahn. Jack Russells and Shire Horses made their first appearances. BD went ape as several gorillas roamed the polo club grounds to the surprise of many guests, as they were real! Or were they? Some 100 companies and associations took part and 19 000 happy visitors came to the Island at the Polo Club.
2001 – Paddington Bear hit town and was an immediate success with the children and has been invited back ever since. Cookery demonstrations by a UK chef and Lacrosse became part of BD. Financially the best year to date, just shows what British cooking can do!
2002 – We celebrated the Queen’s Jubilee and displayed the Replica Crown Jewels which were guarded by a genuine Yeoman of the Guard, Colin Smith in full regalia. It was the year that Casablanca Steps put in their first appearance and the first time that falconry demonstrations were performed on horseback by The Hawk Master.
2003 – The year that the seagulls took over the lake that was the polo field. It rained so much on build up day that the grass disappeared. However a bunch of stalwarts led by Sue Austin carried on and by opening time on Saturday both the grass and the sun reappeared. The Abendblatt weather forecast was wrong again!
2004 – Something old something new! Dinner for One arrived live at BD. Miss Sophie (Ursula Schmidt) and James (Mark Lyndon) performed brilliantly much to the Hamburgers delight – it was New Year’s eve in August. Sue’s major coup was obtaining from Buckingham Palace one of Prince Charles’s watercolour paintings, which was displayed and auctioned on behalf of BD by Sotheby’s.
2005 – Elephant Polo came to BD. The Winter family, longstanding polo players, demonstrated how they, the world champions at the time, practise for Elephant Polo, which is played in Asia. Hagenbeck’s could not produce an elephant so Land Rover provided the mount and the brothers gave a fascinating insight into the world of unusually long polo sticks. This was to be the last year of our stalwart stand-holder, Kati-of-Sky whose support of BD had been enormous. BD wished a happy retirement to Wolfgang and Marion. We also had a special fly-by of the new Airbus 380 and met a very difficult policeman!.
2006 – The PwC Skydivers made their first appearance diving through the rain clouds, including a tandem jump for Beate Pitschmann, a lucky competition winner. Fell ponies, an ancient British pony breed, were presented by the Rimmersgard Fell Pony Gestuet. Oh yes it rained a lot on Sunday!
2007 – It rained again and although we had the German world carriage driving champion to demonstrate Prince Philip’s favourite pastime we could only look at a static display. However RIDS – Reiten im Damen Sattel joined BD and the event went on. British Day however made its first loss since 1992. Thanks to loyal friends of BD and supplier credits we survived.
2008 – Financially BD’s most successful year yet following two years of rain. Morgan Cars came to the event. Participants could win a Morgan Roadster, a sky dive tandem jump and a hot air balloon ride with Bertie Basset. The concert had a new sponsor, Ter Hell & Co., and Russell Harris brought the Philharmonie Suedwestfalen to Hamburg. We had a superb candle lit concert.
2009 – GFS Global Financial Solutions became the new BD Open Air Concert sponsor and the NDR Sinfonieorchester made their first appearance joining old favourites Nicolae Moldoveanu as conductor and the Opera Interludes singers from London. The first cricket 20Twenty competition was organised by THCC Rot-Gelb. Thanks to Georg Mecke, Airbus supported our charities with a donation to the event. Some 130 companies and associations took part.
2010 – Our 20th Anniversary and the biggest programme ever. We have invited back the Casablanca Steps, The Theatre of Lemmings, Russell Harris, Sheep Dog Trials, your favourite dogs, horses, birds, Paddington, Highland games, a MINI-Rock-Rennen, rugby, cricket, welly wanging, darts, croquet, golf, polo, bagpipers, folk music, whisky tasting, Wheel of Fortune, Dinner for One, Scottish dancers, Opera Interludes, Mini’s, Morgans and Oldtimers, Tombola and for the first time junior rugby. This is also the tenth anniversary for Hotel Baselerhof and their excellent Tea tent, the best way to relax in comfort and enjoy the British way of life!
Throughout the years we have had superb sponsorship support from The Anglo German Club, British American Tobacco, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Trebor Bassetts and Cadbury Schweppes. Recently Direct Line, Ter Hell & Co., GFS Global Financial Solutions and MINI Elbvororte have joined the fold. In the past firms such as Barclaycard, Shell, BP, Hamburger Sparkasse, KPMG, Jaguar House Pfohe, Landhaus Flottbek, Landhaus Treudelberg and others have helped to create what is today British Day.
Exhibitors who have been with us almost since the beginning, include Britain Travel, British Airways, Confiserie Paulsen, DFDS, Dubarry of Ireland, Firma Krumpf, The English Bookshop, Guinness, La Creperie, Otto Benz & Partner, Sandy’s, Stena Line, and Terra Australia. A special thank you is due for the loyalty shown to our event.