IN 1937, when the Marquess of Zetland’s eldest son married in London, the heads of department from Aske Hall, near Richmond, were invited for a breath-taking day out in the capital.

Jean Taylor still has the itinerary because her father, Harry Stephenson, was among the travellers who left Richmond station at 11.07pm on December 1 on a local train to Darlington. At Bank Top, they caught the 12.18am which arrived at King’s Cross at 5.55am.

They were then instructed to walk to the Royal Hotel in Russell Square where they breakfasted at 7.30am. At 8.30am, a motor coach arrived to take them to 62, Wellington Road in St John’s Wood “to view the wedding presents”.

An hour later, the coach whisked them off to Buckingham Palace to see the Changing of the Guard. They had a visit to the Houses of Parliament, a motor tour of the sights, luncheon at the Royal Hotel and were in their places in St Paul’s Church, Knightsbridge, in time to witness 28-year-old Lawrence Dundas, Lord Ronaldshay, marry Miss Penelope Pike.

Nuptials concluded within 45 minutes, they took the underground back to the hotel for tea before being transported to the Palladium theatre to see a show starting at 9pm. After the performance, they caught the 1.05am train from King’s Cross which arrived at Darlington at 5.43am where they had a chilly wait until the 6.30am took them home to Richmond.

Jean’s father, Harry, who loved horses, was the stud groom at Aske, and lived with Violet and Jean in a house in the stable block. However, life changed immeasurably with the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Harry joined the Yorkshire Hussars and all the horses from Yorkshire’s country homes were assembled at Malton for the war effort.

“All the horses were shipped to the Middle East at the start of the war, and my father went with them, but he had to shoot them because it was decided they were no use as the tanks were coming,” says Jean. “He had nightmares about it, and never went back to horses after that.

“The Aske stable block was commandeered by officers and soldiers were stationed in the stables, so the horses had gone, the stables were occupied and our house was taken over, as well. I remember my mother helping to put straw into mattresses and making hay palliasts (long pillows) for evacuees from Newcastle – they came by bus, all carrying gas masks and all crying, but most of them only stayed a night.”

Jean and her mother lived with her grandmother, Lavinia, in Piercebridge until her father returned from the war and they began to rebuild their lives.

Her collection, then, of pre-war pictures of life in and around the stable block at Aske is a peer into a very different past…