Music Hall musings

Remembering favourite moments on the stage

By Nicola Benge

Photo:Photo from a music hall reminiscence session

Photo from a music hall reminiscence session

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus archive

Photo:Telling it like it is!

Telling it like it is!

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus archive

Photo:Remembering the good times

Remembering the good times

Photo from WRVS Heritage Plus archive

What acts do you remember in a variety show?

Dolly:  'A chap used to come up with an organ and sing lively songs. There was nothing built down in Crawley then. No venues. The Ifield barn used to put on shows.

Rosina: There were acrobatic acts, jugglers used to come up.

Ken: Max Miller. He was a challenger, an entrepreneur at the time. He told lots of jokes and double meanings. He got banned from the BBC twice. I remember Lord Archie, the ventriloquist. He had a little boy puppet. He was brilliant. We used to go to the hippodrome in the 1950s in Brighton. We waited a long time for the Hawth in Crawley to be built. It was on Ship Street I think, or Middle Street. There were talent shows where you had to audition in front of an audience. There would be a clapometer.

Rosina: I was having kids by then. We used to take the kids to events when they were little at Ifield Barn. They're in their 50s now!

Ken: Our main association before that was in London, with the Empire in Lewisham - We used to go up in the gods of the Theatre Royal.

Joyce: When we were in Darlington, we used to go to the big Majestic, with my sister, in the 1950s and 1960s. Then to Manchester, near Piccadilly, to the 'Cosmo' dancehall to see bands and acts. The organ used to play after the bands had finished, so we could carry on dancing. The Joe Loss orchestra used to play. At the Lyceum. He was great him. We used to go to a place called the Vaudeville too. Black and White minstrels. The Lyceum had a funny sloping floor.

Dolly: We did have the children, but we didn't used to go out as much as I used to work in the evenings. He was managing a butchers in Northgate. He did half days on Mondays and Wednesdays. He used to take care of the children while I was at work. We went to Edwards club for a dance when the kids were older. My kids used to go to tap dance classes.

This page was added by Nicola Benge on 09/04/2008.

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