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52. Entertainment in the Early 1950s


Throughout this period mum attended parties of various kinds.

Children’s Birthday Parties

These included children’s birthday parties, e.g. for Ian, Anne and Lynne.

Family Parties

There were other family parties. For example, she went to Uncle Frank’s birthday party in February 1952. This included a whist drive and mum won a booby prize.

Friends’ Parties

She also went to some friends’ parties, for example, Shirley Sadler’s evening party when she stayed overnight. In June 1953, she was invited to dad’s 21st birthday party but missed this as she was ill in bed. She attended a number of 21st birthday parties during this period including for Joan Storer, Ken Roome and Margaret Varnam. Joan Storer’s 21st party coincided with celebrations of Mr and Mrs Storer’s silver wedding anniversary. At Ken Roome’s 21st party, dad and Robert Ollerenshaw organised games. Mum considered this a really good party. She commented that Margaret Varnam’s party was not as nice!

Mum’s Parties

Mum also had her own parties including for her birthday, in September. She noted birthday parties in 1950 and 1953. These took place on the Saturday after her birthday. There is no specific mention of birthday parties in other years. In 1950, friends who attended her birthday party included Barbara Coupe, Angela Davison, Christine Searson, Shirley Sadler and Ina Stubbs. Shirley stayed overnight. In 1953, her birthday party was attended by Margaret Varnam, Ken Roome, Margaret Bostock, Robert Ollerenshaw, dad, John Overfield, Hazel Munns, Betty Longden, Joan Storer, Barbara Spencer, Ron Rowe, Kathleen Stanley, Joyce Elliot (see box) & Joe, Joy Munns and Alan Jones. Mum and dad got engaged on mum’s birthday in 1954.

Mum worked with Joyce at Fordham and Burton and this may have been the case with Kathleen Stanley.
Mum’s birthday party 1953
Back – Ken Roome, Alan Jones, Joe
Middle – Ron Rowe, Barbara Spencer, Margaret Varnam, Joy Munns, Kathleen Stanley, Betty Longden, Hazel Munns, Robert Ollerenshaw
Front – Margaret Bostock, dad, Trevor Scothern, Joan Storer, John Overfield, Joyce Elliot, mum

Cards and Presents

Mum also noted the cards and presents she received for her birthday. In both mum’s 1953 and 1954 diaries, there are lists of presents she bought for her friends for their birthdays and for Christmas. These give a good idea of her friends at that time.

Mum’s diary for 1953 showing presents bought for friends’ birthdays and for Christmas
Mum’s diary for 1953 showing presents bought for friends’ birthdays and for Christmas


There were also presents and parties at Christmas during this period.


Preparations for Christmas seemed to start earlier towards the end of the period than at the beginning. For example, in 1951, mum put up their Christmas tree on the 22nd but, in 1954, she put it up a week earlier on the 15th.

Other preparations for Christmas included writing Christmas cards, buying and wrapping presents, carol singing and decorating the house.

People Visited at Christmas

People who spent part of Christmas with the Parkins during this period included Barbara Coupe; Ina Stubbs; Hazel Munns; Angela Davison; Margaret Bostock; Phyllis Attwood; Len, Dolly and Ian; John (who mum called Jack) and Olive; Ken and Mr Stanger; Bert, Edie, Marilyn and Jennifer; Uncle Frank and Auntie Bertha; Jim and Renie; Betty Longden; Joan Storer; John Overfield; Brenda and Trevor Scothern; Margaret Varnam; Ken Roome; Mr and Mrs Deakin; Edna, Tom and Sylvia Bust; Joan Fisher; and Jack, Eileen, John and Susan Fawthrop.

Christmas Celebrations

Christmas celebrations during this period included a turkey dinner and playing various games, e.g. Murder. In 1951, they played Murder for two hours and only went to bed at 2am. After that, mum and Marilyn lay awake until 3am talking about Ken Stanger! I think the game Murder may also be known as Murder in the Dark. There are a number of variations of this game, such as Wink Murder.

Presents Mum Gave

Mum also sometimes noted the presents she gave and received. For example, in 1953, she received a knitting bag and a box of chocolates from dad and she gave him a pair of gloves. In 1954, she received a twinset (see Chapter 49) and church hymn book from dad and an umbrella and Sunday School hymn book from grandma and grandad. I have an old pocket hymn book of mum’s but I doubt it is one of these as, at the back, it has a signed list of people who went to Truro in 1952 so presumably predates these gifts. Also in 1954, she bought dad a Vantella shirt, a maroon tie and a pair of slippers.

Dancing at Christmas

On Christmas Day, In both 1952 and 1953, mum went to a dance at Festival Hall (see Chapter 59) from 12 to 4. As this was from 12 midnight to 4am, technically this dance was on the morning of Boxing Day as per the notice below. In 1952, she went with dad and Ron Rowe and, in 1953, she went with dad, Ken Roome, Margaret Varnam, Joan Storer and John Overfield. That year there were so many people staying at their house that mum and Margaret Varnam slept next door at Annie Holmes’. In 1954, there was a similar dance on Boxing Day and mum went with Margaret Varnam, Ken Roome, Mr and Mrs Cross and Maureen Hobbs.

Notice of dance mum attended at Festival Hall in 1953. I a, very grateful to Trevor Lee for supplying me with this and for permission to include it here.

Friends Visit

Mum also sometimes had friends round, including for tea. Such friends included Barbara Coupe, Shirley Sadler, Jeanette Crowley, Joan Storer, Ina Stubbs, Hazel Munns, Margaret Varnam and Ken Roome.

Card Games

When Margaret and Ken came, in March 1954, mum noted that they played Muggins and Happy Families.

There are various games called Muggins including a form of dominoes  and a form of cribbage. Both of these are similar in that you score points when you identify that an opponent could have scored points but did not. There is also a specific branded card game by this name. As with other forms of the game, you can be penalised for missing scoring opportunities and also for being the last person with cards in your hand. I am not sure which form of Muggins they played but suspect it might have been the branded card game although I vaguely recall playing this with ordinary cards which I suspect would be possible although I have not seen it described anywhere. 

While Happy Families is often played with special cards, it can also be played with an ordinary deck of cards. I am not sure which they did in this  case.

The card game Muggins
Vintage Happy Families card game

Mum Visits Friends

Mum also visited friends and went to places with them. In June 1950, she went to the Arboretum (see box note 1) with Jeanette Crowley (see box note 2). Other friends she visited included Ina (and David) Stubbs, Shirley Sadler (see box note 3), Pearl and Ken Hodges (see box note 4), Betty Longden (see box note 5), Ken Roome (see box note 6) and Edna Bust.

[1] Presumably, the references to the arboretum are to the one in Nottingham. There are some vintage photos from the arboretum in the book “Nottingham in Focus” by Ralph Gee, which features the photos of Frank Stevenson (p67).

[2] Mum’s trip to the arboretum with Jeanette Crowley was not recorded in mum’s diary but there was a photo of it in one of mum’s albums.

[3] On one occasion, mum visited Shirley for her Sunday School anniversary. On another occasion, mum met her in Nottingham, had tea at Griffin and Spalding and visited the cemetery (but did not say why).

[4] On one occasion, mum visited Ken and Pearl with Joan Storer and on another as a group of 13.

[5] On one occasion, mum visited Betty Longden before going to the wakes. On another occasion, they played Postman’s Knock there.

[6] Mum went to Ken Roome’s with dad, Margaret Varnam, Joy Munns and Alan Jones. They had tea and played Monopoly.
Jeanette Crowley at the arboretum in June 1950
Postcard of Nottingham Arboretum

Pantomimes at the Theatre

Jack and the Beanstalk in Nottingham and Red Riding Hood in Sutton in 1950

Mum sometimes went to the theatre, particularly to pantomimes. For example, in January 1950, mum and grandma went to see “Jack and the Beanstalk” (see box note 1) at the Theatre Royal (see Chapter 31) in Nottingham and, three days later, they went to see “Red Riding Hood” in Sutton (see box note 2).

[1] According to the Our Theatre Royal website Jack in the Beanstalk was the pantomime in 1949. I assume this means it ran from December 1949 to January 1950 which would fit with mum’s description.

[2] Concerning the pantomimes mum saw in 1950, she noted that the pantomime in Nottingham had been very good and that the one in Sutton had not been as good.

Julie Andrews in Pantomime in Nottingham in 1951

The next year, in January 1951, mum went to see “Red Riding Hood again” at the Theatre Royal, and noted that Julie Andrews was in it. When mum saw Julie Andrews in the pantomime in Nottingham, she (Julie Andrews) was fifteen . The pantomime also featured Tony Hancock and Kirby’s Flying Ballet who also appeared in “Babes in the Wood” in 1941/2 (see Chapter 40).

Ice Pantomimes in 1953 and 1954

Mum saw ice pantomimes at the Ice Stadium in both 1953 and 1954. The Ice Stadium was demolished in 2000 to make way for the National Ice Centre. In 1953, the ice pantomime was “Aladdin” and mum went with dad, Ron Rowe, Ken Roome, Margaret Varnam, Margaret Bostock, Betty Longden, Barbara Coupe and Joan Storer. In 1954, it was “Cinderella” and she went with dad, dad’s nephew, Terry, Margaret Varnam, Ken Roome and Geoffrey Cross.

Other Theatre Trips and the Circus

In 1950, mum went with the Coupes to see “Bless the Bride” in August and “Wild Violets” in September. Two years later, in September 1952, mum went to the Playhouse in Nottingham to see “Lady Windermere’s Fan”. Until 1948, the Playhouse had been known as the Little Theatre (see Chapter 31). In April 1953, mum went to see Billy Smart’s circus after work and, in September that year, mum went with dad and 83 people from Fordham and Burton to see “The Desert Song” at the Theatre Royal. I am not entirely sure if they went to a play or a film. Given that one of the film versions was made in 1953, it is possible that they saw that. But, given that it was at the Theatre Royal, it seems more likely to have been a play. 

Scene from the 1953 film “The Desert Song”. Image licenced for re-use from Alamy


Mum Went to the Cinema More Frequently than Grandad

During this period, grandad sometimes went to the cinema. However, he recorded less than 20 trips to the cinema over this five-year period with the last one in March 1951. Mum, in contrast went most weeks making almost 200 cinema trips during this period.

Films They Saw

Both mum and grandad sometimes noted the films they saw, although grandad did this infrequently. Very rarely, they saw the same film even though they had not gone together e.g. “Bride for Sale” in December 1950. Occasionally, they did go together, including to see “Let’s Have a Murder” in February 1951.

In mum’s diaries for 1950 to 1953, she compiled lists of the films she had seen.

List of films mum saw in 1950. On the same page, is a list of rail tunnels between Kirkby and Bedford (see Chapter 51). I am not sure what the ticks, crosses and zero mean.
List of films mum saw in 1951. For that year, she included the date on which she saw each film.
List of films mum saw in 1952. For that year, she also included the date on which she saw each film as she had in 1951.
List of films mum saw in 1953. As in 1951 and 1952, she noted the date on which she saw each film. I am not sure what S and R stand for. Perhaps they denote her (S) and dad (R) for some reason? Perhaps who paid!

Mum’s Rating System

Mum also sometimes noted cast members and what she thought of the films. While this was not a formal scale, it ranged from not too good to fair to NB (not bad) to G (good) to VG (very good) and, very occasionally, to VVG. When mum saw “Joan of Arc” in July 1950, she commented that there had been “very good acting”, a very different opinion from film critics.

Detailed Film Descriptions

Very occasionally, mum described the film in more detail, e.g. when she saw “The Wooden Horse[2] in March 1951. I recall this film as a child, based on the true-life story of prisoners of war who used a pommel horse to disguise the opening to an escape tunnel.

Scene from the 1950 film “The Wooden Horse”. Image licensed for re-use from Alamy.

Popular Films

On one occasion, in December 1953, they went to see “Will any Gentleman” at the Regent as they had been unable to get in at Kings to see “Titanic”.

Mum Went to Various Different Cinemas

Mum went to a variety of cinemas, including Kings (see Chapter 4), Star (see Chapter 4) and Regent (see Chapter 21) in Kirkby, the King’s (see box note 1), Portland (see Chapter 21) and Tivoli (see box note 2) in Sutton, the Grand in Mansfield (see Chapter 21) and the Odeon (see box note 3) in Nottingham.

[1] The new King’s Theatre opened in Sutton in 1932. Prior to that there had been a New King’s Theatre/ King’s Picturedrome on the site. In the mid-1960s, it was sold and became the Star Bingo Club. In the mid-1990s, it became a nightclub. From 2000, the front section of the building has been operated as a pub, the Picture House, by Wetherspoon’s.

[2] The Tivoli cinema opened as the Queens Palace in 1913 and was renamed Tivoli in 1930. It closed in April 1960 and was converted into an arcade of shops. From 1991, the ground floor has operated as a furniture store.

[3] Originally, the Odeon cinema was the Ritz. It was renamed the Odeon in 1944. The original auditorium was destroyed in 1964 when the cinema was split into two screens. The second auditorium was further sub-divided into three screens in 1976. By 1988, two further screens had been added. The cinema closed in 2001 and the building was demolished in 2012. 

Cinema on Holiday

Mum also went to the theatre and cinema when on holiday, including in Bedford, Blackpool, Bridlington, Guernsey, Middlesbrough, Stockton and Stokesley.

Film Shows at Chapel

Sometimes, there were film shows at chapel.

People with whom Mum Went to the Cinema

Mum went to the cinema with a variety of people including Gordon Barker, Margaret Bostock, Pam Bridges, Barbara Coupe, Margaret Coupe, dad, Joyce Elliot, Maureen Hobbs, Dorothy Lofthouse, Betty Longden, Hazel Munns, John Overfield, Ken Roome, Ron Rowe, Marilyn Seville, Barbara Spencer, Teddy Stephenson, Joan Storer, David Stubbs, Margaret Varnam and Dallas Wright.

The Milk Bar

In addition to going to the cinema, there was a milk bar in Kirkby and mum and her friends often gravitated there. In general, milk bars were seen as alcohol-free alternatives to pubs. By the end of 1936, there were more than 1,000 across the UK. The Milk Bar in Kirkby appears to have been at 10 Kingsway (now a Chinese takeaway) and operated into the 1980s.

In January 1950, after going to the pictures, mum went to the Milk Bar with Barbara Coupe and Pam Bridges. She also went there in March of that year, again with Barbara Coupe, after the pictures. In December 1953, she went there twice with dad. In 1954, their use of the milk bar increased. She went there seven times in January 1954. Sometimes, she went just with dad and sometimes with others including Margaret Varnam and Ken Roome. On one occasion, after a society meeting at chapel, she, dad and Margaret Varnam went to the milk bar and met Ken Roome there. Mum also noted going to the Milk Bar three times in February 1954. Once, she went just with dad and the other times with dad and Margaret Varnam.

Advert for the Milk Bar in the 1969 Kirkby Directory

Kingsway Park

Another place mum went with her friends was Kingsway Park. People she went there with included Barbara Coupe, David Stubbs and Teddy Stephenson. She also took Dorothy Lofthouse there when she visited. In June 1953, she noted that it was Miners’ Day and that she went on the park with dad, Betty Longden, Ken Roome, Margaret Varnam, Joan Storer and John Overfield. In July 1953, she went on the park with Betty Longden and met dad there. They went to the cinema and, after that, went for a walk with Ken Roome and Margaret Varnam.

Barbara Coupe and mum on the park in April 1950


Mum and her friends also went to the wakes (see Chapter 4) when these were on. For some reason, mum referred to these as “waxes” (see Chapter 40). In May 1950, she and Barbara Coupe went to the wakes with Richard Stoppard and David Taylor. In October 1950, she went but noted that there were not many there. In October 1952, she went after having had tea at Betty Longden’s. In June 1953, she went on the park after playing table tennis at chapel and noted that she went on the dodgems four times with dad. Other people who went were Hazel Munns, Harold Booler, Margaret Varnam, Ken Roome, Betty Longden and John Overfield. In October 1953, mum went on the wakes with dad, Margaret Varnam and Ken Roome. Apparently, dad won her a coconut!

Tea in Nottingham

Mum often went into Nottingham and sometimes had tea there with family or friends. Places they went for tea included Griffin and Spalding (see box note 1) and Boots (see box note 2). Mum also noted having dinner with dad at the Odeon cinema.

[1] This was a department store in Nottingham. Although it was taken over by Debenhams in 1944, it continued to use the Griffin and Spalding name until 1973. As of April 2021, Debenhams was in the process of closing. The Nottingham Post has an excellent picture of two ladies taking tea at Griffin and Spalding on their website. This photograph is also included in the book “Nottingham Then” by Ralph Gee as picture number 50.

[2] Now a very well-known company, Boots was established in Nottingham in 1849. It appears that at this time Boots in Nottingham was like a department store.
Griffin and Spalding building as Debenhams © Stephen Richards and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
News cutting from 1936 which highlighted the latest improvement scheme at Griffin and Spalding
Griffin and Spalding advert from 1957 theatre programme

Shopping Further Afield

Mum also went further afield for shopping trips including with grandma to Crowe’s in Leeds in September 1952 (see Chapter 51).

Mum Goes into Nottingham by Herself

Sometimes, mum went into Nottingham by herself including, on occasions, to do jobs for grandad, such as going to Greggs (see box). She also did things for chapel, e.g. in May 1951 getting paper in preparation for the carnival. Mum also shopped for herself, for example buying a black bag in September 1952. 

They were a wholesale boot and shoe dealers based in the Trivett Buildings on Short Hill in the Hockley area of Nottingham. Initially, I struggled to find details. One problem was that almost all searches for Greggs ended up with the bakers! I did find details of a Gregg and Co, shoe and slipper manufacturer, in Hockley. I also found a photo of a Gregg & Compy Ltd shop in Hockley on the Facebook group Pictures and Memories of Nottingham which now appears to be defunct. I have not managed to re-locate this photograph on the new group Nottingham Memories.  However, the photo does appear as picture number 82 in Ralph Gee’s book “Nottingham Then”. I ended up locating them in the Kelly’s Directory for 1941.


Mum loved dancing. In January 1950, mum went to a dancing display and, from the end of 1952, she often went dancing, particularly at the Festival Hall. As well as dances over the Christmas period, she went dancing there, in April 1953, with Margaret Varnam, Hazel Munns, Joy Munns, dad, John Overfield, Ken Stanger and Trevor Munns. In June 1953, she attended a dance at the Festival Hall where the Carnival Queen was selected. She noted that dad and Ken Roome were on duty in the cloakroom and that Lynne stayed at hers overnight. There was another dance at the Festival Hall in August 1953 at which the Carnival Queen was crowned. Music was provided by the Star Swing Band. Although the carnival itself that year was cancelled because of rain, mum did go to the Carnival dance the same night.

Mum also went dancing at other places. In May 1953, she went to a dance in Annesley with Hazel Munns and, in October that year, she went with a group to an Old Boys’ Dance at Henry Mellish School. The group also included dad, Margaret Varnam, Ken Roome, John Overfield, Hazel Munns, Harold Booler, Joy Munns, Alan Jones, and Pearl and Ken Hodges. In December 1953, mum went with Margaret Varnam to the 21st Annesley Tennis Club Dance from 8-12pm. She said she wished that dad had gone. A few days later, she went to the Henry Mellish Christmas Dance. She went with dad, Ken Roome, Margaret Varnam, John Overfield, Hazel Munns and Pearl and Ken Hodges.

Social Activities Outside Chapel

Young Conservatives

Quite a lot of mum’s social activities were related to chapel but she also seemed to enjoy social activities in other places, e.g. with the Young Conservatives which she attended with Barbara Coupe.

Snooker and Billiards

Mum sometimes played snooker and billiards at her Uncle Frank’s including, for example, with Joan Storer.


She often played tennis particularly until June 1951. They often played at Kingsway Park but mum noted that they once played on the Johnsons’ court. Mum played with various people including Barbara Coupe, Margaret Coupe, Hazel Munns, Edwina (see box note 1), Molly Wilson (see box note 2), Lowey (see box note 3), Angela Davison, Valerie Bird, Dallas Wright, Joy Munns (see box note 4), Margaret Varnam, Ken Roome and dad.

[1] I am not sure who Edwina was. There was an Edwina Severn who attended the Sunday School at Bourne.

[2] Molly Wilson was from the Young Conservatives.

[3] I am not sure who Lowey was.

[4] Mum and Joy Munns used to play at dinner time when working at Fordham and Burtons.

Table Tennis

At times, particularly between April and June 1953, mum played table tennis, largely at chapel, including after Junior Youth Club or choir practice. Sometimes, she noted playing table tennis with dad. Also, sometimes dad was involved in table tennis matches against other chapels (see box) and mum would go to watch. Dad sometimes travelled to play table tennis including to Blidworth and Mansfield.

One of the chapels against whom dad played table tennis was Victoria Street Baptists. I am not sure exactly which chapel is being referred to here but I think it might be in Sutton in Ashfield. I have found reference to a Victoria Street Baptist Church in Sutton. There is also reference to Stanton Hill Baptist Church on Albert Street (very close to the junction with Victoria Street). They may in fact be the same chapel. Stanton Hill Baptist Church is located within a triangle formed by Albert Street and Victoria Street. There is a church and also a Boys’ Brigade Community Hall.  While the church may still be operating, the website was last updated in 2016 and their Facebook page does not appear to be active. In addition, the building appears to have been recently sold.


Mum also sometimes watched dad playing cricket. In July 1954, she went to Cinderhill to see a match for the Norwich Union – Nottingham against Northampton. It was 20 overs each. Nottingham won as they made 88 for 7 and Northampton were 69 all out.


Mum was never a confident swimmer but she did take it up in later life. It is therefore of interest that she did go swimming several times at Sutton Baths with Angela Davison in July and August 1950. A new leisure centre replaced Sutton Baths in 2008. The original Sutton Baths building was demolished in 2013.

Sutton Baths in 2008 © Dave Bevis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


Mum also had a hammock in the yard at Station Street (see Chapter 40) which she put up when the weather was nice, e.g. in May and June 1950.

Sitting in the Garden

Once the family had moved to Welbeck Street, she sometimes just sat in the garden, for example in July 1953.

Playing Cards

Mum sometimes played cards, including with J Spray (see box note 1), M Chapman (see box note 1), Barbara Coupe, Jim, Renie, grandma and grandad (see box note 2).

[1] I am not sure who J Spray or M Chapman was.

[2] Mum did not always note what card game she played with grandad but sometimes they played “500 Up” (see Chapter 40).


Monopoly was also a favoured game and mum played this with different friends including Barbara Coupe, Margaret Varnam, Ken Roome, dad, Joy Munns, Alan Jones, Hazel Munns, Betty Longden, Joan Storer and Harold Booler.


Mum and grandad also sometimes played chess.

Local Events

Annesley Fete and Gala

Mum sometimes attended local events. In July 1950, she attended a fete and gala in Annesley with the Coupe family, Mr and Mrs Coupe, Margaret and Barbara. There is a good photograph of Kirkby Old Band at Annesley Fete and Gala in July 1950 on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook Group.

Window Spotting

Two days later, a window spotting competition started which lasted a few days. Mum took part in it with Barbara Coupe and Sheila Cobb. Such competitions usually involve identifying items displayed in shop windows. According to discussions on the Kirkby Living Memory Facebook group, the window spotting competition was part of the build up to Carnival and involved identifying an item in a shop window that that shop did not sell.  CAKE (Community for Action and Kirkby Events) held a window spotting competition in Kirkby in 2018.

Children’s Ball

In November 1953, mum attended a Children’s Ball at the Miners’ Welfare.

Festival of Britain Carnival

In July 1951, there was a Festival of Britain carnival week in Kirkby. Mum noted that the “big school”, which was presumably the senior Sunday School at Bourne, dressed a lorry. The primary school involved Geoffrey Cross on a bike/trike, Jean Cooper and Sylvia Bust in pushchairs and Lynne Evans in a doll’s pram. The adults involved included Joan Storer, Edna Bust, Mrs Cross, mum and Joy Munns. The primary display won second prize which mum noted was five shillings. The prams were decorated in green and white. Grandad noted that Bernice Wright was the carnival queen, that the procession was very good and that he closed the shop for an hour.

1951 Carnival – lorry for Bourne Sunday School
1951 Carnival – Bourne Primary Sunday School
1951 Carnival – Summit Colliery float
1951 Carnival – Carnival Queen
 Bourne Primary Sunday School – Kirkby Carnival 1951 featuring Geoffrey Cross, Jean Cooper, Lynne Evans and Sylvia Bust. Their entry won second prize of five shillings.
Newspaper cutting from Kirkby Carnival 1951

Press Coverage of the 1951 Carnival

The 1951 carnival merited quite extensive local media coverage and mum had a number of articles among her papers. These noted that the procession involved 20 decorated vehicles and more than 300 children and adults in fancy dress. The carnival was opened by the Minister of Health, Hilary Marquand. More than 5,000 people paid to go into the gala in Kingsway Park. The media noted that, although the Mowland School won the inter-school sports competition, they were not able to be presented with the Bayliss Shield “because the shield had not arrived from the makers”!

A Dance and a Religious Service

The festival also included a dance and a united religious service both at the Festival Hall with the service led by Rev Robinson from Bourne. The religious service raised £10 16s 3d for “the dependents of the submarine Affray (see box note 1) and the Easington Colliery disasters (see box note 2)”.

[1] The HMS Affray was the last Royal Navy submarine to be lost at sea on 16 April 1951 with the loss of 75 lives.

[2] The Easington Colliery disasters occurred in May 1951 in County Durham with the deaths of 83 men.
Memorial to HMS Affray which was lost at sea in April 1951 © Paul Gillett and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Pit Cage Monument, Easington Colliery © Andrew Curtis and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Charity Fundraising, Boxing and a Celebration of Manufacturing in Kirkby

Other news reports covered funds raised for charity by different Kirkby streets, a boxing contest between Dick Johnson and Paddy McCall, held at the Festival Hall and a celebration of items manufactured in Kirkby. This was taken to show that Kirkby was “no longer an exclusively mining-cum-railway town”. Kirkby was considered to be contributing to national economic recovery and the festival was considered to be an “outward sign [of] the prosperity of the town.”

Carnival 1952

There was also a carnival in July 1952 and mum noted that she watched it from Olive’s. According to notes on the back of photos, Uncle Tom led the procession that year . I believe this was Tom Wilson who we knew as Uncle Tom as children. A float entitled “Garden of Roses” won first prize. The Bourne chapel intermediate school float was based on a Wimbledon tennis match between Little Mo (Maureen Connolly) (see box)and a British player who they called Little Hope! Margaret West played Little Mo and Janet Ridley played Little Hope. That year, Jill Hinks was Carnival Queen.

Maureen Connolly won Wimbledon in 1952, 1953 and 1954 before her tennis career was ended by a horse-riding accident at the age of 19.
Kirkby Carnival 1952 – Uncle Tom leading the procession
Kirkby Carnival 1952 – Garden of Roses the winning float
Kirkby Carnival 1952 –  Bourne Sunday School float featuring Little Mo and Little Hope
Kirkby Carnival 1952 –  Bourne Sunday School float featuring Little Mo and Little Hope
Kirkby Carnival 1952 –  the Carnival Queen
Kirkby Carnival 1952 –  the Carnival Queen

Carnival 1953

In January 1953, mum attended a Council Meeting about the carnival. She did not give any details. I assume this was a planning meeting. In June, she noted that the carnival queen had been selected at a dance she attended at the Festival Hall. At another dance, again at Festival Hall, in August 1953, mum noted the crowning of the carnival queen. 

However, organisers cancelled the carnival in 1953 because it rained all day. Instead, Ken Roome and dad came to mum’s house and played Monopoly in the afternoon. They did all go to a Carnival Dance at night and mum noted that two girls from Manchester Salvation Army stayed the night with them.

Among mum’s papers was a copy of the Carnival Magazine for 1953. This had a unique “lucky programme number” (1643) and was priced at one shilling. It consisted mainly of adverts but also contained parade details, details of judging of street decorations, a summary of week’s events and details of sports events.

Kirkby Carnival 1953 – Carnival magazine front cover
Kirkby Carnival 1953 – Carnival programme

Day Trips

Mum took part in a number of day trips during this period.

Trent Bridge in June 1950

In June 1950, mum went to Trent Bridge with Eva, Lynne, Carol, Olive and Mrs Kemp.

Tulip Fields in May 1951

The next year, in May 1951, mum went to visit the tulip fields with Barbara Coupe, Mr & Mrs Coupe, Mr & Mrs Sisson and Tony. I presume this was Tony Sisson but I am not sure who the Sissons were. They were listed as giving flowers at Jean Kirk’s funeral (see Chapter 47).

Festival of Britain in London in June 1951

The next month, in June 1951, mum went with grandma and grandad to London to the Festival of Britain and Battersea Park. Mum wrote “FB NB BP VG” which I interpret as meaning that she considered the Festival of Britain not bad and Battersea Park very good! They went by train and left Kirkby at 11.10 am and got home at 2.45 am.  Among mum’s papers was the original British Railways notice concerning the trip. It gave details of the various exhibitions with a detailed map on the reverse side as to how to get to them. The notice gave details of train times. The cost of a return ticket (third class!) was 16/9. Children under 3 were free and those aged 3-14 were half price.

Details of excursion to Festival of Britain by train from Kirkby in June 1951
Reverse side of the excursion notice for the Festival of Britain giving a map
Photographs from the Festival of Britain and Battersea Park in June 1951

Skegness in June 1951

Also in June 1951, mum went with the chapel choir to Skegness for the day. Barbara Coupe and Ina Stubbs went too. The weather was hot and mum noted that they had had a “lovely time”. They had dinner at Park Croft, where Barbara usually stayed, and mum considered this very good. They had tea at the Co-op which mum considered not bad.

Bournville Factory in Birmingham in April 1952

 In April 1952, mum visited the Bournville chocolate factory in Birmingham. She went despite being off sick from work at the time!

Bournville Factory © Fabian Musto and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Cauldwell Dam in June 1952

In June that year, mum went for a walk round Cauldwell Dam with her friends, Joan Storer, Betty Longden, Barbara Spencer and Sheila Cobb. Cauldwell Dam is popular for both fishing and cycling

Cauldwell Dam © Antony Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Chapel St Leonards in November 1952

In November 1952, grandma went with Olive’s husband John to see Cyril in Chapel St Leonards. This was around two months after Olive had died so perhaps this was linked to that.

Doncaster in April 1953

In April 1953, mum went with Marilyn to Doncaster.

London in May 1953

In May 1953, mum and grandma went to London by bus for the day. Mum noted that they went with Joan Storer, Hazel Munns, Mr & Mrs Munns, Mrs Storer, Alan Jones, Joy Munns and Betty Longden. Although mum does not mention her cousin Ian, it seems he also went as there is a picture of him. Mum noted that this was a Fordham and Burton’s social club outing. This is where mum and Joy Munns were working at the time (see Chapter 55). This trip was three days ahead of the coronation which explains the crowds outside Buckingham Palace. Mum noted that they left Kirkby at 6am and got back at 4am.

London trip 30th May 1953 – unlabelled group photo – perhaps (back) Mrs Storer, Joan Storer, Hazel Munns, Mr Munns (middle) Alan Jones, Betty Longden, Mrs Munns (front) grandma, Ian 
London trip 30th May 1953 – Betty Longden, Hazel Munns, sentry, mum, Joan Storer
London trip 30th May 1953 – Buckingham Palace
London trip 30th May 1953 – Hazel Munns, Ian, Joan Storer
London trip 30th May 1953 – Downing Street
London trip 30th May 1953 – The Mall
London trip 30th May 1953 – Selfridges
London trip 30th May 1953 – Clarence House

Skegness June 1953

In June 1953, mum noted that dad went to Skegness for the day from work.

Cleethorpes June 1953

That same month, grandad noted that mum went to Cleethorpes with Lynne and this was part of a bigger group. Mum simply noted that she and dad had gone – and that she went on the Big Dipper three times with him.

Cleethorpes trip – 13 June 1953 – unlabelled group photo – looks like dad, Joan Storer, Ken Roome and Margaret Varnam at the back and Lynne at the front
Cleethorpes trip – 13 June 1953 – Joan Storer, mum and Margaret Varnam
Cleethorpes trip – 13 June 1953 – Lynne
Cleethorpes trip – 13 June 1953 – mum
Cleethorpes trip – 13 June 1953 – Lynne and mum
Cleethorpes trip – 13 June 1953 – Lynne and Trevor Scothern
Cleethorpes trip – 13 June 1953 – Ken Roome, Margaret Varnam, mum and dad
Cleethorpes trip – 13 June 1953 – Ken Roome and dad

Scarborough in July 1953

In July 1953, mum went on another Fordham and Burton trip to Scarborough and this time dad went with her.

Scarborough trip – 18 July 1953 – unlabelled group photo
Scarborough trip – 18 July 1953 – mum and dad
Scarborough trip – 18 July 1953 – Mr Evans, mum, Kathleen Betts, Kathleen Stanley, Joan Storer
Scarborough trip – 18 July 1953 – Kathleen Betts, Mr Evans, Kathleen Stanley, dad and Joan Storer

Epworth in August 1953

In August 1953, while mum was in Guernsey, grandma, grandad and John, presumably Olive’s husband, visited Epworth, the birthplace of John Wesley. They went to the tomb from which John Wesley preached when he was not permitted to preach in the church. There is a similar photograph in Malcolm Carter’s book “Confessions of a Methodist Minister” between p58 and p59.

Epworth August 1953 – although the photo is blurred, it appears to show grandma and grandad at Wesley’s tomb.
Epworth August 1953 – St Andrew’s parish church where Samuel Wesley, father of John and Charles Wesley was rector

Leeds in September 1953

At the end of September 1953, grandma stayed overnight with Auntie Bertha and then went with her to Leeds for the day.

Skegness in April 1954

In April 1954, on Easter Monday, mum and dad went to Skegness on the train for the day. Dad won a tea pot and tea service on the donkey derby.

Matlock in June 1954

In June 1954, mum went with a Sunday School trip to Matlock. They took two double decker buses.

Matlock in June 1954 – mum on High Tor
Matlock in June 1954 – mum in Matlock Park with Ken Roome

Bridlington in August 1954

In August 1954, mum, dad, Margaret Varnam and Ken Roome went to Bridlington for the day. According to mum, they had a nice time but she said they did not like Bridlington. They went by train leaving Kirkby at 11.33 and arriving at 2.47 and they left Bridlington at 9.10 arriving home at 1.35.


Mum had quite a few holidays away during this period. Some were visiting friends and family while others involved staying in guesthouse-type accommodation in different resorts.

Visiting Auntie Dolly in Bedford in April 1950

In April 1950, mum and grandma went to Bedford and stayed with Auntie Dolly, grandma’s first cousin. 

Visiting Bert in Hastings in August 1950

In August 1950, mum, grandma and Barbara Coupe went to visit grandma’s brother, Bert, in St Leonards on Sea near Hastings. A few days before they travelled, mum sent her suitcase off ahead of her. She kept notes of her trip in a separate book which was no longer among her papers. However, there were quite a number of photos of this trip in her albums.

St Leonards on Sea in August 1950 – mum
St Leonards on Sea in August 1950 – group photo including Barbara and mum with Bert and his wife Doris
St Leonards on Sea in August 1950 – grandma
St Leonards on Sea in August 1950 – Barbara

Visiting Marilyn in Driffield in March 1951

In March 1951, mum noted that she went to visit Marilyn in Driffield by herself for a week. Grandad noted that grandma had taken her as far as Doncaster. Activities at Marilyn’s included shopping and playing cards (including 500 up) and Monopoly. They also visited Bridlington and went to the pictures there and saw “Destination Moon which mum considered very good. Marilyn and mum also helped Bert, Marilyn’s father, with some stock-taking in “the book-room”. They went to the pictures again to see Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor in “The Father of the Bride”. Again, mum considered this very good.

Mum and Marilyn in Bridlington in March 1951

Visiting Bedford Again in April 1962

In April 1952, mum and grandma visited Bedford again. Mum noted that they went to Uncle Frank’s after chapel. The next day they went to the river and to Ray’s at night. Mum noted that the weather was really hot.

Weekend in Ashover in February 1953

In February 1953, grandad noted that mum had spent the weekend in Ashover (see Chapter 54).

Guernsey 1953 with Joan Storer

In the summer of 1953, mum and Joan Storer had a holiday together in Guernsey.

Planning the Guernsey Holiday

Planning for such a holiday started in January 1953 when mum noted that she, dad, Ken Roome, Margaret Varnam, Joan Storer, Betty Longden, Barbara Coupe and Joy Munns all had a discussion about planning a holiday together. A couple of days later they discussed it again. Dad and Ron Rowe said they were going to Jersey for a fortnight and anyone who wanted to go with them could. Mum wanted to go but said she did not know when it was. At the end of January, mum noted that grandma had said she could go.

However, by mid-February, it appears that mum’s plan now was to go to Guernsey. Mum had written to someone in Guernsey and had had a reply. However, dad had said he was not going and this meant Ron pulled out too as he had said he would go if dad was going. There was considerable conflict over this, including between mum and dad (see Chapter 57).

Two Weeks in Guernsey with Mr and Mrs Bougoord

Nevertheless, in July and August 1953, mum and Joan Storer went for a two-week holiday in Guernsey. They left Northolt Airport (see Chapter 51) in London at 9.10 and were in Guernsey by 10.35. They stayed with a Mr and Mrs Lloyd Bougoord at 2 Les Huriaux (see box), Oberlands, St Martin.

Les Huriaux is a common name in both Jersey and Guernsey and appears to mean stony land. This address appears to be on Rue des Huriaux in St Martin. I think I have tracked down the property on the corner of Rue des Huriaux and Les Vaurioufs but, as Google StreetView does not seem to cover Guernsey, it is difficult to be sure. It appears that this property may have been for sale in 2017. It had been renovated from the time mum stayed there but I think it is still recognisable.
2 Les Huriaux – this is where mum and Joan stayed when they visited Guernsey in 1953
Lloyd and Ellen Bougoord with whom mum and Joan stayed when they visited Guernsey in 1953
Map of Guernsey showing 1. Moulin Huet Bay; 2. Petit Port; 3. Grand Rocques; 4. Little Chapel; and 5. Pembroke or L’Ancresse Bay © Bohemian Arcade and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Guernsey Day 1: Sunday 26 July 1953

Their first day was a Sunday so they went to chapel and then walked along the cliffs from Moulin Huet Bay to Saints Bay.

Guernsey 1953 – Moulin Huet Bay

Guernsey Day 2: Monday 27 July 1953

The next day, they went shopping in St Peter Port and then to Moulin Huet Bay in the afternoon.

Guernsey 1953 – St Peter Port

Guernsey Day 3: Tuesday 28 July 1953

On Tuesday, they went to Petit Port in the morning and to St Peter Port in the afternoon.

Guernsey Day 4: Wednesday 29 July 1953

On Wednesday, they went to Grand Rocques in the morning and then on a tour (#3) in the afternoon including to the Little Chapel.

Guernsey 1953 – the Little Chapel

Guernsey Day 5: Thursday 30 July 1953

On Thursday, they again went to Grand Rocques in the afternoon. It was very hot and mum got sunburnt.

Guernsey 1953 – mum at Grand Rocques
Guernsey 1953 – mum at Grand Rocques on a different day

Guernsey Day 6: Friday 31 July 1953

On Friday, they went on another tour (#1) to the north of the island.

Guernsey 1953 – Saumarez Park. Although this park is not mentioned explicitly in mum’s diary, there were pictures of it among mum’s photos of this trip
Guernsey 1953 – mum in Saumarez Park. Although this park is not mentioned explicitly in mum’s diary, there were pictures of it among mum’s photos of this trip

Guernsey Day 7: Saturday 1 August 1953

On Saturday, they went to Pembroke Bay, also known as L’Ancresse Bay (see map #5) in the afternoon.

Guernsey 1953 – mum at Pembroke Bay
Guernsey 1953 – mum at Pembroke Bay
Guernsey 1953 – mum waiting for bus

Guernsey Day 8: Sunday 2 August 1953

On the second Sunday, they again went to chapel and then again to Pembroke Bay. That day, mum noted that Mr and Mrs Harvey, Melvyn and Aunt Flo came. I am not sure who these people were. They may just have been other people staying in the same guesthouse.

Guernsey Day 9: Monday 3 August 1953

The next day, mum noted that they all went to Pembroke Bay for the day, that it was very hot and that she got terribly burnt on her shoulder and arms.  

Guernsey 1953 – Mrs Harvey, Joan, Lloyd, Mr Harvey, Aunt Flo, Mervyn at Pembroke Bay

Guernsey Day 10: Tuesday 4 August 1953

It seems Joan may have been even more affected by the sun as the following day mum noted that Joan stayed in bed all morning with sunstroke. Mum went to Petit Bot Bay.

Guernsey Day 11: Wednesday 5 August 1953

On Wednesday, they went to the Little Theatre (see box note 1) at night to see the Denville Players (see box note 2) give “Room for Two” (see box note 3). Mum considered it very, very good.

[1] Apparently, the Little Theatre was established after the second world war and was destroyed by fire in the 1980s.

[2] The Denville Players were a well-known touring theatre company led by Alfred Denville.

[3] “Room for Two” was a 1938 stage farce on which the 1940 film was based.
Programme from performance of “Room for Two” given by Denville Players at the Little Theatre in Guernsey in 1953. This was their eighth season in Guernsey.

Guernsey Day 12: Thursday 6 August 1953

On the Thursday, they did another tour (#2) which included a vinery.

Guernsey Day 13: Friday 7 August 1953

On the Friday, they went to Petit Port Bay in the afternoon which required going down 269 steps although mum considered it lovely.

Guernsey 1953 – mum on steps at Petit Port Bay

Guernsey Day 14: Saturday 7 August 1953

They flew home on the Saturday leaving Guernsey at 12.20 and arriving in Kirkby at 8.20. Dad met mum in Nottingham and came home with her.

Chapel Trip to Blackpool October 1953

In October 1953, mum went with a party from chapel to Blackpool for the weekend. They went round the lights and then to the lodge. They were staying with Mrs Clarke (see box note 1) at 29 Lord Street (see box note 2), Blackpool.

[1] A party from the chapel stayed with Mrs Clarke on other trips in 1954 and 1955 (see Chapter 69).

[2] It seems that 29 Lord Street may now be called North Central Holiday Flats between the Seacroft and Hotel Royale.

The people who went included dad, Margaret Varnam, Ken Roome, Joan Storer, Amy Nuttall, Joy Munns, Alan Jones (and two of their friends), Pearl and Ken Hodges (and two of their friends), Edna and Sylvia Bust, Mr and Mrs Cross, Geoffrey Cross, Trevor Scothern, John Overfield and Gordon Horsewood.

Blackpool trip October 1953 showing chapel party
Blackpool trip October 1953 showing Ken Roome, mum and dad

While in Blackpool, mum went to see the musical comedy “Zip goes a Million” at the Opera House (see box note 1) which she thought was very good. She also went to the Pleasure Park (see box note 2) at night. On Sunday, they went to chapel in Blackpool and then came home.

[1] Located at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, mum went to the Opera House in October each year from 1953 to 1955. The first Opera House at the Winter Gardens opened in 1889. It was rebuilt in 1910-11. It was demolished in 1938 and replaced in 1939 in the Art Deco style. The website Arthur has quite a lot of detail about the Opera House including a photograph of the programme for the 1955 production of “Wedding in Paris” which mum went to (see Chapter 66).

[2] I presume the Pleasure Park was a reference to Pleasure Beach theme park.
Opera House Blackpool © Betty Longbottom and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
Postcard of Pleasure Beach in Blackpool posted 1949 to Mr and Mrs J Bird in Blaenclydach by their son

Grandma Visits the Lofthouses in April 1954

In April 1954, grandma went to visit the Lofthouses but, on this occasion, mum did not go.

Great Yarmouth in June 1954

On 16 June 1954, mum went to Mansfield and booked two seats to Yarmouth. She also bought a new Pac-a-mac (essential for a UK summer holiday!). Mum noted that grandad paid for the mac. That month, mum and dad had a week’s holiday together in Yarmouth. Margaret Varnam and Ken Roome should have gone with them but Ken got appendicitis and could not go.

Yarmouth Arrival: Saturday19 June 1954

Mum and dad stayed with a Mr and Mrs Hurt at 44 North Denes Road. They arrived on a Saturday and that night they went to the Pleasure Beach. Mum won a teapot on “Monte Carlo Rally”.

Card for the place where mum and dad stayed in Yarmouth in 1954
Yarmouth June 1954 – mum and dad outside Windsor House where they stayed
Yarmouth June 1954 – Mr and Mrs Hurt outside Windsor House
Postcard of Pleasure Beach in Great Yarmouth

Yarmouth Day 1: Sunday 20 June 1954

The next day, they went on the front early and then went to Temple Methodist Church (see box note 1). They sat on the sands in the afternoon and went to Central Hall Methodist (see box note 2) in the evening. When they got back to where they were staying, they sat and talked to Mr and Mrs Hurt.

[1] Temple Methodist Church was demolished in 1973.

[2] The Central Hall Methodist was Deneside Central Methodist Hall and the church still exists although, in 1990, it merged with Middlegate URC and Cobholm Methodist Church to form Christchurch.
Christchurch in Great Yarmouth © Tiger and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Yarmouth Day 2: Monday 20 June 1954

On Monday, they went on the front and went shopping. They sat on the beach in the afternoon and went to the boating lake. That evening they went to see “Showtime” (see box note 1) at Wellington Pier Pavilion (see box note (2)

[1] It appears that “Showtime” was a regular show each year in Yarmouth although it may have been a general term for a number of different shows in Yarmouth. Mum and dad went to see Bruce Forsyth in “Showtime” in 1961 (see Chapter 81) and grandma and Eva went to see Arthur Askey in “Showtime” in 1967 (see Chapter 92).

[2] The Pavilion, on Wellington Pier, opened in 1903. It was partially demolished in 2005 and converted to a large bowling alley and bars in 2008.
Yarmouth June 1954 showing floral anchor – the flower beds for this are still there
Mum and dad in Yarmouth in June 1954
Yarmouth June 1954 – dad at the boating lake
Yarmouth June 1954 – mum at the boating lake
Yarmouth June 1954 – Perry Blake diving at the boating lake
Yarmouth June 1854 – mum at the bathing pool
Yarmouth June 1954 – mum playing crazy golf
Yarmouth June 1954 – dadplaying crazy golf
Yarmouth June 1954 – mum on the beach
Yarmouth June 1954 – dad on the beach
Postcard of Wellington Pier and Pavilion in Great Yarmouth

Yarmouth Day 3: Tuesday 22 June 1954

On Tuesday, they went on the front and to the Britannia Pier. They sat on the sands in the afternoon and went to a swimming gala at night.

Yarmouth Day 4: Wednesday 23 June 1954

On Wednesday, they went on Wellington Pier in the morning and sat on the beach in the afternoon. They went to the Marina at night (see box).

The Marina was built in 1927 and was replaced by the Marina Centre in 1981. This, in turn, was demolished in 2020 to make way for a new leisure centre
Postcard of Britannia Pier in Great Yarmouth

Yarmouth Day 5: Thursday 24 June 1954

On Thursday, they went shopping in the morning, sat on the beach in the afternoon and went to the Marina for an hour. They went to the circus at night and mum noted that this was “very good”.

Postcard of the Marina in Great Yarmouth that was posted in 1956 to Malcom Hindmarsh in Halstead

Yarmouth Day 6: Friday 25 June 1954

Mum finished her shopping on Friday. They went to a children’s talent competition at the Marina in the afternoon and to an adult talent competition at night.

Yarmouth Day 7: Saturday 26 June 1954

On the day they left, they went on the boating lake in the morning and left where they were staying at 1.15pm and Yarmouth at 3.20. They got home just before 10. Mum sent Mrs Hurt six roses as a thank you.

Harry Hudson and His Melody Men

In one of mum’s albums was a photo labelled “the party at the Marina Gr Yarmouth June 1954“. I overlooked this for some time but, when I took the photo out of the album, I found that it was labelled in detail on the back. This showed that the man seated in the centre was Harry Hudson, hence the “HH” in the photo. Searching online, I found that this very photo is widely available for sale, for example on Alamy. It seems that Harry Hudson and his Melody Boys were in residence at the Marina in Yarmouth in the summer of 1954. Harry Hudson was a fairly well-known British musician who recorded widely in the 1920s and 1930s.

Harry Hudson and His Melody Men at the Marina in Yarmouth in 1954
Reverse of the above photo which mum had labelled

Visiting Dorothy in Stokesley in 1954

At the end of September 1954, mum and dad went to visit Dorothy Lofthouse in Stokesley.

Stokesley manse in 1954 – this is where Dorothy lived. From the Stokesley Methodist Church website, it seems that the Manse in Stokesley is at 15 North Road and from Google Streetview this is potentially the same building although the roof and windows are different but the photo is almost 70 years old! The location seems to fit with the photo of the church from Dorothy’s bedroom
Stokesley September 1954 – inside Stokesley Methodist church. There is a detailed history of the church on the Stokesley Methodist Church website. Essentially, the current church dates from 1887. In addition, there was a Primitive Methodist Chapel that was used as an Elim church but is now a block of flats called Elim House.
Stokesley September 1954 – view of Methodist church from Dorothy’s bedroom
Stokesley Methodist church in September 1954
Dad in Stokesley September 1954
Mum in Stokesley September 1954

Stokesley Day 1: Sunday 26 September 1954

On Sunday, they went to chapel twice.

Stokesley Day 2: Monday 27 September 1954

On Monday, they went to Middlesbrough then mum and dad went on their own to the Hippodrome[1] to see “Father Brown” and “Drive a Crooked Road”.

The Hippodrome opened as a variety theatre in 1906 and started showing films in 1910. It was taken over by Denman-Gaumont in 1928 but was not re-named as there was already a Gaumont cinema in the town. It closed in 1956. In 1959, it became the Astoria Ballroom and then a bingo hall which closed by 1987. In 1991, it became a night club called the Venue and what remained of the auditorium became a Chicago Rock Café. It is currently the Grand Astoria Venue.  The A66 flyover goes right in front of the building.

Stokesley Day 3: Tuesday 28 September 1954

On Tuesday, mum and dad went to Redcar in the afternoon. Then, at night, they went to Middlesbrough with Dorothy to the Odeon to see “Living it Up” and “The Golden Link”.

The Odeon opened in 1939, the auditorium was converted into a triple screen cinema in 1974. It was refurbished in 1999 but closed in 2001. It reopened later that year as Jumpin’ Jaks night club. This closed in 2005 and the building was demolished in 2006.

Stokesley September 1954 – mum in Redcar

Stokesley Day 4: Wednesday 29 September 1954

On Wednesday, they went to Stockton and Dorothy met them there in the afternoon. At night, they attended the choir pie and peas supper at chapel.

Stokesley Day 5: Thursday 30 September 1954

On Thursday, mum and dad went on their own to Durham. At night, they went to the Lyric in Stokesley to see “Arctic Manhunt”. The Lyric was a very small cinema that closed in 1965. The building later housed an antiques shop and is now used as offices.

Durham Cathedral September 1954
Site of Lyric cinema in Stokesley © Mick Garratt and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Stokesley Day 6: Friday 1 October 1954

On Friday, they went to Stockton during the day. At night, they went to see “What Every Woman Wants” and “Companions in Crime” which mum considered very good. Mum also noted that the cinema was “packed”.

Chapel Trip to Blackpool October 1954

In October 1954, the chapel had another trip to Blackpool for the illuminations. I am not sure if mum was involved in organising this trip but it seems likely as there was a list in her diary of all those going and how much they needed to pay. When they arrived in Blackpool, they went round the lights before arriving at about 11.45 where they were staying, the same place as the previous year.  

Blackpool Day 1: Saturday 23 October 1954

On Saturday, it rained all day. They went shopping in the morning and then to the Opera House to see “Love from Judy”. At night, mum and dad went by themselves to the Hippodrome (see box ) to see “Corsican Holiday” and “The Command”.

The Hippodrome in Blackpool was built in 1895 as a ballroom and music hall. It opened that year as the Empire Theatre and Opera House but closed some four months later. In 1900, it was converted to a circus and renamed the Hippodrome. In 1910, it was converted to a cinema and variety theatre. In 1929, it was taken over by Associated British Cinemas (ABC) and they rebuilt the cinema in 1963, renaming it ABC. In 1981, it was converted to a three-screen cinema. In 1986, it was renamed Cannon and from 1993 MGM. It closed in 1998 and the building was converted to a nightclub, The Syndicate, in 2001. However, the building was demolished in 2014.

Blackpool Day 2: Sunday 24 October 1954

It also rained for most of Sunday. They went to Central Methodist Church (see box) in the morning but got very wet after the service. There do not appear to be any photos from this trip, perhaps because it rained all the time?

The Central Methodist Church was demolished in the 1970s although there is now a new Central Methodist Church.
List of people going on Blackpool trip October 1954 from mum’s diary
Front cover of programme from “Latin Quarter” which was on at Blackpool Hippodrome in 1953
Programme from “Latin Quarter” which was on at Blackpool Hippodrome in 1953

Family and Friends Visit the Parkins

In addition, family and friends also sometimes visited the Parkins.

The Lofthouses Visit in April 1950

In April 1950, Dorothy, Ella and Arthur Lofthouse visited for a few days. They visited grandad’s sister Olive and spent the day listening to “the gramophone”, watching television and playing Monopoly. They also went into Nottingham.

The Lofthouses’ visit in April 1950: Dorothy and Ian
The Lofthouses’ visit in April 1950: mum, Arthur, Dorothy (back) grandma, Ella (front)
The Lofthouses’ visit in April 1950: Dorothy (labelled Len Hutton?)
The Lofthouses’ visit in April 1950: mum and Dorothy

Marilyn and her Friend Gill Visit in April 1950

Also in April Marilyn visited with a friend called Gill. Mum noted that they played “Hop Skotch”.

Dorothy Visits Again in June 1952

In June 1952, Dorothy visited again. Mum met her in Nottingham and, the next day, they went to Trent Bridge together. The following day, they watched Trooping of the Colour on TV in the morning. At night, they watched “Black Limelight” on TV. The next day, they went to Olive’s and into Mansfield. At night, they walked round the forest with Barbara Coupe, Joan Storer and Betty Longden.

Dorothy Lofthouse at Trent Bridge in June 1952
Mum at Trent Bridge in June 1952 at the time that Dorothy visited
Dorothy Lofthouse at Trent Bridge in June 1952
Mum and Dorothy in the garden of Welbeck Street in June 1952
Mum and Dorothy in the garden at Welbeck Street in June 1952

The Fawthrops Visit in July 1952

In July 1952, Jack and Eileen Fawthrop visited with their children, John and Susan.

The Fawthrops visited in July 1952 showing Eileen, John, mum, Jack, Susan and grandma

Marilyn Visits Again with Yvonne in August 1954

In August 1954, Marilyn visited mum with her friend Yvonne.

Marilyn and her friend Yvonne in the garden in Welbeck Street in August 1954
Yvonne, Marilyn and mum in the garden in Welbeck Street in August 1954
Marilyn, dad and mum in the garden in Welbeck Street in August 1954

Family and Friends Take Holidays

Sometimes, friends and family members went away for holidays too. For example, in April 1951, mum noted writing to Barbara Coupe who was away in Bedford. In August 1954, mum and dad looked after grandad’s shop while Ken and Pearl Hodges went on holiday.

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