Play

wireless.pngThe ‘Wireless’ as the radio was then called, brought the news of the declaration of the war to the people of Britain in September 1939. Most of the population relied on the ‘wireless’ to keep them informed about the progress of the war. The wireless also broadcast BBC programmes like ‘Music while You Work’ to keep workers entertained and raise morale during the long hours spent in the workplace. The cinema was also very popular visual entertainment during the in the war years as people enjoyed films and kept up with war news through Pathe Newsreels. The people of Britain also held dances and other leisure activities in support of the war effort on the home front. There was much entertainment in available in Marsden during the war years just as there was throughout Britain.


Renee.jpgThe Mechanics was the place for entertainment. They had dances there and it was all blacked out with blackout curtains. It used to get warm in there. There was a lovely, lovely sprung floor for dancing. The wireless was our connection with the outside world. You listened to the news every night at 6 o’clock. You had In Town Tonight and Workers’ Playtime. They had that up at the mill. There were some good artistes on there – local people. There have always been musical people in this village. Renee

Brenda.jpgRenee Lewis started a tap dancing school in the village. Concerts were put on; proceeds went to the Comforts Fund for the servicemen and women. My sister Nell and I were both in the dancing group. On the radio {we used to call it the wireless in them days}, there was a programme called Workers’ Playtime. Different kinds of employment broadcast a half hour concert during lunch break. One of these concerts was broadcast from the canteen at John Edward Crowther’s, Marsden. Two of the artists which I remember was May Kelsall singing and Arthur Jacobs, violinist. Brenda

Nellie.jpgWe used to go to the pictures and when it was nice weather we used to go out walks. And when it wasn’t, we used to sit in the house and talk and play games. We used to walk round the Pule and down Tunnel End, and walk down West Slaithwaite – you hadn’t any money those days, you know. Tom Chadwick used to come round on a Monday with acid to boost your radio. Nellie

Geoffrey.jpgI went to the cinema [the Electric Theatre in Marsden] on a Saturday. Laura Beardsall kept discipline. They showed two pictures a week. On a Friday, they always pasted what was on at the cinema on the gable end of the New Inn. During the war, there were all those war films, and real pictures like Mrs Miniver and The Best Days of your Life. When we got older, we went at night and then we went to Jack Hirst’s for fish and chips, down Peel Street. We were too young to go for a drink so we went for fish and chips instead. I used to listen to ITMA on the wireless. My dad listened to the news and we listened to the cricket match. Geoff

Sylvia.jpgWe used to play out in the fields, we used to play cowboys and Indians, even when the air raids were on. As long as we had us gas masks with us, we were all right. You see, you had to make your own entertainment. If we’d a whip and a top and a bit of chalk for hopscotch, we we were quite happy, making different colours on us tops. Sylvia

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Marsden's Home Front

Workers' Playtime broadcast for BBC Radio, from JE Crowther's canteen.