Chandler's Ford History

"If my memory serves me correctly ......." Welcome to our Chandler's Ford Local History Blog. Our aim is to collect and record memories of Chandler's Ford, in Hampshire, and make them available to all. We shall also share old reports, maps and photographs where there is no copyright problem. Do help us by adding your photos and memories. Even if you can't quite remember what happened, write your version of events and encourage others to add theirs. Look forward to hearing from you. Chris

Friday, May 19, 2006

Social Clubs and Groups

The Chandler's Ford Boys' Brigade Band was formed in 1961. To read its history see:

Do you know more about the history of the Boys' Brigade Band?
Could you tell us about the history of other social clubs and groups in Chandler's Ford?


Blogger Chris said...

The Immediate Post-WWII Years posted by Peter 14 Aug 2006

There was no television in the UK during the war, and in any case it did not reach southern England until the mid-1950s, and then only in black and white for a few hours each day on one channel each from BBC and ITV. However, towards the end of the 1940s, a few people on higher ground in Chandler’s Ford could receive fuzzy pictures from the BBC’s London TV transmitter. Most homes in Chandler’s Ford had no TV before 1955 when ITV started, and the BBC was by then transmitting TV from the Isle of Wight. The main sources of news and home entertainment, apart from books, magazines, comics and newspapers, continued to be the radio and the wind-up gramophone, although a few people had electric radiograms which played records through the radio’s internal loudspeaker. For homes with no mains electricity, the radio was battery-operated. Actually there were three batteries - a large 120-volt battery about 250 cm by 150 cm and about 100 cm thick; a smaller "grid bias" 9-volt battery (both these batteries had to be replaced every few months) and a re-chargeable heavy lead-acid "accumulator" battery of some 2 volts, housed in a transparent glass container and with a carrying handle; the accumulator had an overall life time of several years. However, the accumulator had to be re-charged every few weeks at certain shops and garages with the appropriate equipment, so most homes had a spare, allowing one to be on charge and one in use in the radio. Eventually the accumulators expired and could not be re-charged; they then had to be replaced.

There were two BBC radio services (channels) during the war and the immediate post war years- the Home Service (important for news, particularly the 9 o'clock nightly bulletins, to which most people listened) and the Forces Service with mainly programmes of dance music and light entertainment, and which became the “Light Programme” after the war. The “Third Programme” broadcasting classical music started towards the end of the 1940s. Commercial radio did not become widespread in Britain until the 1970s. All 40’s and 50’s BBC radio programmes were national programmes with some occasional “regional” variations including the regional news and a story about a family called “At the Luscombes”. Towards of the 40s the BBC started 15 minute daily serials – including the very popular “Dick Barton, Special Agent”, and eventually the “Archers” in the early 50s. There was also a 30-minute weekly radio serial called “Journey into Space”, which was tremendously popular, and was one of the last radio programmes to have a larger audience than television. Separately, after the war it became possible again to tune into Radio Luxembourg - a continental commercial station broadcasting dance (later called "pop") music and entertainment such as quiz programmes with prizes (eg "Take Your Pick" and "Double Your Money"), into which the BBC had not then ventured.

Chandler's Ford had no cinema, although there were occasional showings of films in the Ritchie Hall, but Eastleigh had two cinemas - the "Regal" and the "Picture House" opposite each other in Market Street, both owned by a Mr Wright. Sometimes I went to the “pictures” (as people then called the cinema) in Eastleigh with my mother and father, or occasionally with mother only. One evening mother and I got into a train at Eastleigh station to go home, thinking it was the last train to Chandler's Ford, but to our consternation it backed out of the station into a siding. Fortunately, it was summer and we were soon rescued by a railway worker who escorted us across the lines to await the correct train.

It was very difficult for children under 16 to get into any cinema without an adult, unless an all-"U" certificate programme was showing. The cinema programme was normally a main film plus a supporting (“B”) picture) with between the two films a newsreel and advertisements, sometimes also a cartoon, plus trailers for forthcoming films. The Regal had a cinema organ which came up out of the ground with a man playing it during the adverts (which were silent); gramophone records were played in the Picture House, which did not have a cinema organ. I remember an advert for an Eastleigh radio shop (Bryce Slade's) showing a man with headphones listening to an early crystal set radio - which was totally out of date and comical as radios by then had built-in loudspeakers.

On special occasions there would only be only one long film, such as “Gone With The Wind", “The Wizard of Oz", “Bambi". For the more popular films, and nearly always on Saturday evenings, it was necessary to queue to get into a cinema. Sometimes there would be queues down both sides of Market Street for the two cinemas, even in wet weather. However, performances were continuous so it was not usually necessary to have to queue until the start of the next programme, but it could mean missing the start of a film and sitting through the entire performance including the interval until it came round to where you went in. This did not matter much with the supporting "B" picture, but was inconvenient for seeing the main feature. After the last evening showing of the feature film, people would rush for the exits before the National Anthem was played; those not in a hurry or not quick enough had by convention to stand still during the anthem!

After the war, the two cinemas started Saturday morning films for children, and for 3 pence (pre-decimal money) they both showed a cowboy film or a "swashbuckler", together with a cartoon and a “nail-biting” serial.

Other public entertainment at the Ritchie Hall included dances with live or recorded music, “socials” with dancing and some party-type games, and amateur theatrical performances by the “Chandler’s Ford Players”.

Many thanks for your postings, Peter. We’re so enjoying your accounts. Keep them coming! Chris

2:16 PM  

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