When Ian Hendry Met Ian Hendry! At The Premiere Of Live Now, Pay Later – ABC Cinema In Ipswich (1963)
Picture above: Ian Hendry meets his namesake – Ian Hendry – at the reception after the premiere for Live Now, Pay Later – ABC Cinema in Ipswich (February 1963)
Every so now and then I receive an email via the contact form from someone with a connection to Ian and the past. It’s one of the simple pleasures that makes running this website so worthwhile.
In this instance, though, I must admit I took a double-take when I read the message.
Why? Well this particular email came from Ian Hendry!
He began the email by saying ‘This is not a hoax‘! Well we all receive enough spam email these days – so he wanted to allay any fears – but this really was from Ian Hendry!
This is a heart-warming story of how a young 15 year old fan named Ian Hendry was treated ‘like royalty’ when he finally met Ian Hendry.
When Ian Hendry Met His Namesake
After Ian’s initial email I wrote back and asked him to tell me more about the evening he met Ian Hendry. In response, he told me how that very special evening unfurled, so I’ll let the ‘other’ Ian Hendry tell it in his own words:
The story surrounding my meeting with your uncle started with a friend of mine who was a wine waiter at The Great White Horse Hotel in Tavern Street, Ipswich. He told me that your uncle and Janet Munro were staying at the Hotel and wondered whether I wanted to be introduced to him, as he knew I was a fan
Of course I wanted to, so with another friend – on a very cold evening in February – we set out on our pedal cycles armed with our autograph books. On the way to town the chain on my cycle came off and I had to quickly fix it. Accidentally some of the grease got onto the sleeve of my coat!
When we eventually got to the hotel, I let my wine waiter friend know I had arrived and shortly afterwards your uncle and Janet appeared in the doorway. When your uncle asked to whom he should make the autograph out to and I told him, he asked if the spelling of my name was the same as his.
He then asked if I and the friend I came with could get to The Ritz – which was in the Buttermarket – and then invited us both to see the his film Live Now Pay Later.
When we got to The Ritz there were a lot of screaming girls but your uncle came to collect us and asked the manager of the Ritz to give us the best seats in the Cinema and look after our cycles.
Picture: Autograph book signed by Ian Hendry when he met the other Ian Hendry at the White Horse Hotel in Ipswich.
Picture: Autograph book signed by Janet Munro when she met the ‘other’ Ian Hendry
An Invitation To The Reception
We saw the film which we thoroughly enjoyed but before the end of it, the Cinema Manager came to us and told us your uncle would like our company at his reception which was held in the cinema. He [Ian] collared a photographer to take a photograph and then a reporter. I was then told I should collect the photograph from Buttermarket Studios and the photograph would be paid for by him.
I duly collected the photo a few days later which showed the grease mark on the sleeve of my coat, plus I was still wearing my scarf and donning a teddy-boy hairstyle!!
In The Press
The story was picked up by the local press and the original clipping is below:
Picture: Newspaper Article – Ipswich Evening Star 12th February 1962
Ian Hendry + Janet Munro Visit The Ipswich Rugby Club Fete – Summer 1963
When Ian and Janet visited Ipswich again in the summer of ’63, the other Ian Hendry seized upon the opportunity to get the photograph signed.
Ian continues the story:
Later on that year I met your uncle at the rugby club he had belonged to and it was there I asked him autograph the photo, which he did with the same wording as he did in my autograph book which was to the other Ian – Ian Hendry.
Picture: The rear-side of the photo, signed by Ian Hendry when he met up with the ‘other’ Ian Hendry a few months later at the rugby club
And Ian showed his prowess on horseback and go-cart!
Picture: Ian Hendry signs the ‘other’ Ian Hendry’s photograph – Ipswich Rugby Club
Picture: Ian Hendry (on pony back!) + Janet Munro – Ipswich Rugby Club
Picture: Ian Hendry (on pony back!) + Janet Munro – Ipswich Rugby Club
Picture: Ian Hendry (on a go-cart!) – Ipswich Rugby Club
Picture: Janet Munro – Ipswich Rugby Club
The Great White Horse Hotel, Ipswich
Guest-list: Ian Hendry, Janet Munro, Elizabeth I, Lord Nelson, Charles Dickens….and Haile Selassie?
Picture: Great White Horse Hotel. Ipswich – where Ian Hendry stayed with Janet Munro.
Great White Horse Hotel: Hidden behind a Georgian facade, the Great White Horse Hotel is a timber framed coaching inn dating back almost 500 years to the 16th century; it first opened in 1518. It was previously called The Tavern, situated on Tavern Street which was named after it. In 1835, Charles Dickens stayed in Ipswich and used it as a setting for scenes in his novel The Pickwick Papers. Dickens made the hotel famous in chapter XXII of The Pickwick Papers, vividly describing the hotel’s meandering corridors and stairs.
Other illustrious guests have included The Duke of Norfolk, Queen Elizabeth I, King George II, King Louis XVIII of France and Lord Nelson (then High Steward of Ipswich) with Lady Hamilton. In more recent times Edward VIII and Mrs Simpson – after the abdication – stayed there.
There is also some evidence that Haile Selassie was in residence for a while. Christine Brody recalls that, ‘my stepfather and his parents all lived and worked there from around 1930 to the end of the war. They are adamant that Haile Selassie was in residence at some point though there seems to be no official note of his visit. My step-grandmother cooked for him and in fact broke his white china teapot’.
My grandfather, James ‘Jim’ Hendry also told us the story of how he met the equerry to Halle Sellassie once on a train (most probably from Ipswich to London – travelling to the capital for business). They spent the journey chatting and when they arrived at the destination, Jim was given a golden tie-pin by the equerry as a gift!
ABC Cinema – Ipswich
The picture below is the Ipswich ABC Cinema in The Buttermarket as it looked in 1962 (formerly called The Ritz it was renamed at the end of ’61). For the premiere of Live Now Pay Later the cinema was decked in posters and lights – the red carpet treatment! I remember being shown a picture of how it looked by my grandmother – and I’ll add it here if it can be located.
Picture: ABC Cinema in The Buttermarket, Ipswich in 1962
Picture: Newspaper advert for Live Now Pay later (1962)
Some Years Later – Opening A New Electrical Shop?
Some years later, the ‘other’ Ian had a humorous case of mistaken identity:
In the late seventies/ early eighties we rented our televisions from Hughes Electrical and we always paid on time. One day I arrived home from work and my wife, Gillian, told me Hughes were trying to get me to ask if I would open one of their shops. I could not understand why they had asked me other than I had been a good customer. I was very honoured to have been asked but very soon after – and having spoken to them – I was disappointed to learn it was not me they wanted but your uncle!!!
A big thanks to Ian for contacting me, for sharing his story and items of memorabilia and for his agreeing to the sharing of it on the website.
Final words to Ian:
It is a pleasure to do something in memory of your uncle who, apart from being a great actor, was a very pleasant and generous person.
It’s a lovely story.
Editor, Official Website of Ian Hendry
A detailed account of the life and work of Ian Hendry in the new biography: