Theatrical performance 1945 ?

By Paul Stickland

Photo:Laindon show

Laindon show

Can anyone add any information about this photograph? I believe it shows a performance of “Ali Baba” or something similar. I think it was taken about 1945. I can identify some of the cast, vis- the lady in the centre is Mrs Butler, to the right is my mother, Kathleen (Kitty) Stickland. Next left is Mrs Houser. To the left of centre is Mrs Dodge (?), the next left is Mrs Eady Chester. On the far left, the large lady is Mrs Butler senior. In the front row holding something unknown is Miss Jean Chester.

There appears to be a large animal in the left corner, perhaps a bull.

This picture was given to me by Jean West nee Chester. Jean lived with her mother Eady in a tiny wooden bungalow called “The Nest”, in Pipps Hill Road near the junction with Wash road. Amazingly this property is still there and looks as I remember it in the 1950s.

I would particularly like to know the collective name of this company, as my mother was a very keen member of these local groups. Her speciality was I think impersonating Vesta Tilly, the music hall star. I can remember seeing mum dressed in top hat and tails singing “Burlinton Bertie from Bow”. Jean was born in about 1936 and can remember travelling in a coach to local towns and villages with these ladies to put on performances. This would have been in the late 40s and early 50s. She tells me that some of the village halls only had paraffin lamps for lighting.

I hope this jogs some memories, as I would dearly like to know more about my mothers “theatrical career”. What wonderful communities we had back them before television and computers made us so insular!

With fond memories of old Laindon.

Photo: Illustrative image for the 'Theatrical performance 1945 ?' page
Editor: A close-up of the camel taken from the Roselake website

This page was added by Paul Stickland on 10/07/2013.
Comments about this page (Add a comment about this page)

I'm interested to see Beryl Mallett's (nèe King) comment at the start of the comments. 'Daphdolvia' was my grandparents' bungalow. I was born there. I remember Mrs Houser giving me sweets when I was a toddler. I'm not certain but I think Mrs Houser made the cake for my christening.

My Grandparents were Vic and Doll Reading and my mother was Daphne. I never knew that anyone else had lived at Daphdolvia except, perhaps, directly after the war when my family were still living in Oxfordshire, having been evacuated.

By John Daynes
On 08/05/2016

Having just found this page, whilst I know nothing of the theatrical performance in 1945,  I realise that the Hauser family were our neighbours when we lived at 'Daphdolvia' on the Arterial Road. I was a bridesmaid to one of the daughters and I assume Brian was the page boy in white satin, in the photo.

By Beryl Mallett nèe King
On 06/05/2015

Hello Mrs Houser,

Yes, I am a relative of Jimmy Stickland. He was my older brother, sadly he passed away in 1997. I have often hear mention of his good friend Brian although I don't remember him as I am 14 years younger than Jimmy. It is interesting that you say the players were the Victory Vs. This is not a name I have heared before. I hope others may be able to remember more about them.There certainly was a good community spirit in old Laindon. Do you still live in the area. I trust Brian is well.

Kind regards Paul

By Paul Stickland
On 13/11/2013

Hello Paul, I am assuming you are a relative of Jimmy Stickland, a name I have heard my husband mention many times of his school days amongst many others from Laindon. I am married to Brian Houser the younger brother of Flora and Richard and son to Mrs Houser in your photographs. The war time concert party that she belonged to with the other ladies mentioned was called the Victory V's.

By Mrs P Houser
On 12/11/2013

This is a wonderful photograph showing how so much effort was put into shows in those far off days. The cast are wonderfully made up and the group of girls in front are particularly pretty . The possibility of Miss Earl providing dancers reminds me of the article about the Gregory family on this website who have provided photos of The Earlettes, thus fitting in another part of the Laindon history jigsaw. Fascinating times indeed !

By Richard Haines
On 17/07/2013

Hi Paul. I’ve received a reply from Mary Hawkins quote: “No I was not a member of the British Legion Ladies, this was the Revellers I thought, but could be a troupe from Miss Earls dancers helping the Revellers.”

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 16/07/2013

Further to the subject of the British Legion ladies. They had been active in giving shows for a long time. Despite it being a ladies group, I remember being "conscripted" in my youth to take part in a concert at the Billericay workhouse to celebrate the coronation of King George the Sixth. This was due to my friendship with a Robert Brown whose grandmother in prewar days was a staunch member of the group and also a matriarch of the Brown family whose wishes could not be refused.

By W.H.Diment
On 12/07/2013

It’s definitely a camel with a hump. The picture on ‘Roselake’ is a clearer version. We have blown it up on the computer screen and to the left of the camel we can see its hump. Somebody’s head under a cloth which was part of the camel’s costume. Like a pantomime cow but in this case a ‘Pantomime Camel’. I wonder who were the two people inside. The person on the left of the camel appears to be holding its reins. This is fascinating stuff. I will let you know when I hear back from Mary Hawkins.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 11/07/2013

Hi Paul. Love your comment about the camel (or donkey)! As there are only ladies in the picture, I will contact Mary Hawkins to ask her if she was also a member of ‘British Legion Ladies’. Hopefully we will soon be able to confirm the identity of this ‘troupe’.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 11/07/2013

Further to Mr Diment's comments, Mrs Houser is the very tall lady on the left. She had a younger son called Brian, who was a friend of my older brother Jimmy. I am interested by your mention of the British Legion Ladies, as I can remember going to shows and rehearsals at the Legion hall. 

Nina are you quite sure this is the Revellers? As family members do not remember our Mother being in the Revellers, also on the Roselake site they have a question mark against the name. It is a strange looking camel, although it does seem to have a hump.

By Paul Stickland
On 11/07/2013

Having looked at the photograph I am unable to recognise any of the ladies featured. However, I do recognise two of the names of people I knew, that of Mrs. Houser and Mrs. Dodge, but at the time this photo is considered to have been taken which appears to feature young people the two ladies I have mentioned could not have been considered young as they had grown up children. 

Mrs.Houser lived on the Arterial Rd., and had a daughter Flora and a son Richard near my own age, while Mrs.Dodge lived in Church Rd., two doors north of Cooper Stores and had a very large family, although I do remember they were connected with social groups which I thought was the British Legion ladies. Perhaps the group had a very good make up person.

By W.H.Diment
On 10/07/2013

These are ‘The Revellers’ formed in 1948. Founded by Mr C R Clark known as ‘Nobby’ and included Fred Penson Snr and family members Fred Jnr and Pearl Penson. They performed at places around the area including the ‘Memorial Hall’ in Laindon High Road and ‘Hut Club’ in Samuel Road, Langdon Hills. They were still active in the early 70s. This same photo appears on Peter Jackson’s website ‘Roselake’ (see Links ‘Dunton Plotlands – Dunton Community). Mary Hawkins (nèe Pratt) of 'Malvern' Dunton Drive posted the photo. She joined the group aged 14 in 1949. She is shown in the front on the far left. Within ‘comments’ on the Laindon Archive site, several people have mentioned seeing Mary in the shows ballet dancing on points.  The animal is probably meant to be Ali Baba’s donkey or maybe a camel.

By Nina Humphrey(née Burton)
On 10/07/2013
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