Spey Bay in the 1950s: Dancing and chauffeurs

We were delighted to hear from Mrs Helen Mills (nee Minty), who sent in these lovely memories of Spey Bay in the 1950’s. This blog is part of our #SpeyBayStories project, if you would like to contribute please email [email protected]

The original Spey Bay hotel was a landmark in the area in the 1900s and in the early fifties (‘54-‘56) I and four of my college friends spent our summer holidays working as waitresses there.

We specially looked forward to the month (August) when a group of very wealthy people from London came north for the Spey fishing and golf. The organiser was a lovely man called Iain Bailey who had a black Bentley and a chauffeur called Piddington. Among the London guests were well known names – Bonham-Carter and Lycet-Green to mention two.

Every Saturday after dinner the waitresses went dancing in either Buckie or Elgin, chauffeured there (and back) by Piddington in the Bentley (Mr Bailey insisted).

After the dances we always had a laugh at the reaction of any male escorts when we stepped into the Bentley – the look of astonishment and disbelief was a job to behold!

Spey Bay Hotel (photo taken in 1923)