‘Treasure chest’ of memories

Right and below: Out of the ‘treasure chest’- two first birthday cards from 60 years ago, and one featuring Laurel and Hardy, Lassie, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Roy Rogers, Trigger and others, which was sent out to the writer when she was an ABC Minor in 1949.

Right and below: Out of the ‘treasure chest’- two first birthday cards from 60 years ago, and one featuring Laurel and Hardy, Lassie, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Roy Rogers, Trigger and others, which was sent out to the writer when she was an ABC Minor in 1949.

 

Retirement brings an ideal opportunity to sort out some of the things you have collected over the years and no longer really need, but one thing I’ll never throw away is my ‘treasure chest’ of memories.

I count myself as extremely lucky because my mother was never keen to destroy anything, and we became a family of hoarders. Because of this, I still have my first birthday cards, glossy postcard type, bought from Woolworths for 2d each, and it’s hard to believe they are 60 years old. I shall always be grateful to my mother for keeping them along with a few from subsequent years which, when passed on to me as a child, encouraged me to start my ‘treasure chest’ collection.

Over the years as a child, teenager and young woman I collected an abundance of memorabilia. My love for films began in the 1940s when I attended the Saturday morning Minors’ matinee regularly, and I have two birthday postcards sent by the
Right and below: Out of the ‘‘treasure chest’-two first birthday cardsfrom 60 years ago, and one featuring Laurel and Hardy, Lassie, Mickey Mouse,

Donald Duck, Roy Rogers, Trigger and others, which was sent out to the writer when she was an ABC Minor in 1949.

cinema manager of the time – 1946-1949. I remember being called up on stage while an audience of hundreds of children sang “Happy Birthday”.

Before the start of the programme -which usually consisted of cartoons, a weekly serial (there was Flash Gordon or a very frightening one I remember called The Clutching Hand) and of course the main feature, we’d all join in and sing the Saturday Matinee song to the tune of ‘ Blaze Away’.

I continued to be an ardent film fan, and have issues of Pictureshow and Picturegoer in my memorabilia. During the 1950s, along with my constant visits to the cinema, I was beginning to find great enjoyment at the theatre, and have a large collection of programmes to remind me of those wonderful variety shows at the Birmingham Hippodrome. The programmes cost 3d, and the cost of seats ranged from 5/- in the stalls and 4/6 in the circle to 1 /6 in the balcony.

I saw all the stars of the era – David Whitfield, Dickie Valentine, Jimmy James, Sophie Tucker… the list is endless! The icing on the cake

An 'all-in' eight-day Swiss tour for just over £25 in 1967!

An ‘all-in’ eight-day Swiss tour for just over £25 in 1967!

was going round to the stage door after the show to collect autographs, and my book is full of celebrities’ names. I saw numerous American stars too, but because of the volume of fans at the stage door it was impossible to get the autographs. I remember a very frightened Johnny Ray being almost stripped of his clothes by frenzied fans, and Guy Mitchell having to escape through a secret exit.
They were fabulous days, and I’m delighted that I saved all those wonderful programmes to remind me of all those personalities I saw and enjoyed.

My nostalgic collection also includes an autograph book full of entries from school friends, letters, newspaper cuttings and recollections of holidays. The latter always amazes me when I reflect on the cost of holidays in the 1950s.

I enjoyed two weeks at a Portsmouth guest house (such accommodation was always called affectionately ‘holiday digs’ at that time) with full board for a mere £5 per week. Even more unbelievable was my one and only holiday abroad in 1967 – an eight-day tour of Switzerland with travel, accommodation, all meals and so on for a grand total of £25 4s.

When I had my daughter in 1969 I started her very own ‘treasure chest’ of memories, and although the changes won’t be so dramatic, I hope she gets the same pleasure I’ve had when she looks back over her life. Irene Pursloiv

 

Do any other readers remember variety shows at the Hippodrome, Birmingham ? This was the fayre in 1955, with seat prices ranging from 9d for the balcony to 22/-for the best box seat.

Do any other readers remember variety shows at the Hippodrome, Birmingham ? This was the fayre in 1955, with seat prices ranging from 9d for the balcony to 22/-for the best box seat.