Ian Meredith

Sky Bridge Club is proud to introduce Ian Meredith. He plays on Sky Bridge Club as Windrush, named for the Cotswolds river. We've seen some 80% scores from Ian and no doubt there will be many more to come. This is Ian's story, in his own words.

I was first aware of the game in the late thirties. My parents had been playing for years, first auction and then contract rubber, after the style of Culbertson. At home or at friends, a penny a hundred at the most. A good customer friend of my father ran a paint company and gave out packs of cards with the firm’s name on them. They were both good club golfers and bridge was, as it still is, a very popular side activity in golf clubs, but never very serious!

These were the days before TV, so playing card games was common everywhere, and bridge was generally considered to be the most socially acceptable! I played patience, snap, rummy and whist before starting on bridge in my early teens. When I arrived at boarding school, I found that several of my contemporaries had also been taught the game by their parents, and our housemaster‘s wife, a keen player herself, encouraged us. Coincidentally, an Old Boy was Terence Reese, Britain‘s leading writer, broadcaster and international player. It is said that he was involved with the start of duplicate bridge, circa 1930. He was later accused of cheating with his partner Boris Shapiro at an international match in Buenos Aires - this affair rumbled on for years.

My National Service started as a trooper in the 17/21st Lancers (tanks), and finished as a very junior subaltern in the 79th HAA regiment in leafy Cheshire. (I couldn’t afford the horse!) There had been no bridge playing at Catterick, a few games at Officer Cadet T U, but when I was asked on arrival by the adjutant if I played bridge, he said that the Colonel and 2 IC would be pleased as the Mess was short of a fourth! My fellow subalterns accused me of crawling. It wasn’t really very good, described as Sergeants' Mess Bridge - lead out your aces and kings, and then pray!

I followed my father into the chemical industry, though not with the same company, as a management trainee and played rubber bridge with work colleagues during the lunch hours.

In 1954 I was sent out by ship to Cape Town to further my career - food was still rationed in the UK, nine years after we won the war!

My first dinner on board was six courses, and in Tourist Class too! Quite a change after 14 years of rationing. In Johannesburg I flat-shared with a fellow bridge player who had the nerve to try the very smart club nearby but found them playing for a shilling a hundred, a lot in those days for a youngster and he didn’t repeat it. Interestingly, they played rubber and not duplicate.

The photo below was taken for the South African financial press on my appointment as M D there, 1970. (50 years ago!)

In 1956 I went up to Salisbury, Rhodesia to start a company there and met my wife. She didn’t play but had a good friend who did and we soon had her into the game. I was allowed to play 3-card brag with the boys from time to time!

Back to the UK in 1960 with two small children. 36 hours in a Viscount with seven stops - no joke! For the next 9 years in the Midlands, we kept our hands in with family when time allowed. Then back to Cape Town as MD - I didn’t have much time to play but my dear wife Angela did her stuff with the local chairman’s wife and her friends. This was the first time that we met Acol being played socially. My Bridge was with fellow golfers when it rained! All very relaxed!

Back to Head Office in London in 1975 - we chose to live in Buckinghamshire and played a lot with three other couples. After the hosts for the night provided an excellent meal, three hours of Chicago, a variation of rubber, and suited to two or more tables. Back home after midnight!

I retired in 1989, by which time we had moved to the Cotswolds where we found new friends who played, by then gentle afternoon Bridge followed by tea or something stronger.

The final move was to Auckland in 2008 to be nearer to our two families. The local Bridge Club allows us (mainly oldies) to have its facilities on Tuesdays for some lighthearted tables of rubber, enjoyed also by some committed duplicate players who enjoy something a bit different!

Just as I do with my ten hands a day with Sky Bridge Club.

Thanks for sharing your history, Ian! All the best for your future endeavours


1pamelab1 says:
Interesting, full life!!
IMPatti says:
Wonderful life and story. Thanks for sharing.
Poppingpopcorn says:
Thanks Ian, a fascinating life, well fulfilled!
Placidgal says:
Such an interesting life story, Ian. Thank you
MrsBirts says:
Living in London, we often visit the R Windrush area around Burford, which is absolutely wonderful. As soon as the restrictions are lifted we shall be right out there,
carolmy says:
Thanks, Ian - a very interesting life you’ve had!
choceclaire says:
Thanks for sharing your story Ian. Lovely to have you in Auckland!
maggiec says:
My introduction to Bridge was at Victoria Falls in 2020. I lived in Rhodesia for many years and five more after it became Zimbabwe. Bridge was always a popular game but I never played in the years I lived there, Salisbury Bridge Club was spoken of in hallowed tones. Small world - lovely life story. I wish you many more years of happy Bridge.
suec88 says:
Thanks for sharing Ian what an interesting life. My Father was in the Tanks and he and Mum played Crib every night where ever they were.
EdwinaWillis says:
Enjoyed your story Stay safe in these horrible times
walky says:
What a life! I bet your "children" are proud of their dad!
Sandra says:
Such an eventful life! Great that you had lots of opportunities to play Bridge at all the different places you travelled to! X
Jobridge says:
A life well-lived, Ian and a good game of bridge!
lorfell8 says:
Lorraine says: Bridge becomes an addiction; where you always want to play, and learn more
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