Portsmouth kids' cinema club song remembered after 70 years: RETRO

Inset, a preserved Sunbeam Talbot as seen in the 1949 photograph of the Dell. Picture: Steve Daly
Inset, a preserved Sunbeam Talbot as seen in the 1949 photograph of the Dell. Picture: Steve Daly
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On August 29 I published a photo of The Dell, Southsea, with a gardener hard at work. The caption said it was 1969 but I was not convinced. Reader Steve Daly confirmed my suspicion, saying: ‘I checked through a series of my car books and it seems to me that someone has misread 1949 for 1969.

‘All the cars parked along the seafront seem mainly pre-war.

The 1949 picture of The Dell at Southsea. The cars have been identified. Picture: Roger Young collection.

The 1949 picture of The Dell at Southsea. The cars have been identified. Picture: Roger Young collection.

‘The most modern vehicle shown is being driven towards the camera.’

Steve adds: ‘Through the magnifying glass I could make out that it has an open sunroof and rear door/window that has an odd-looking racked back angle.

‘The vehicle also has a nice pair of chrome headlights either side of the chrome grille.

‘By the 1950s car design tended to incorporate the headlights into the front wings.

‘After looking through a host of glorious cars, such as the Alvis, Daimler, Armstrong Siddeley, Lanchester and Lea Francis,  I think it`s probably a Sunbeam Talbot two-litre which was first produced in 1939 but the Second World War stopped production until 1945.

‘That’s as close as I can get. There appear to be no cars from the 1950s in the photo.’

n I recently asked about a mystery woman who once lived in Leigh Park Gardens in the 1960s.

The gardens, now parkland, were the ornamental gardens that surrounded Leigh Park House. I have now received a couple of replies about her.

John Courtney said: ‘Living in Winterslow Drive from 1956 until 1973, I spent many years playing in Leigh Park Gardens and remember seeing the lady you mention.

‘Many times over the years she was seen coming out of a small wooden gate marked private.  

'The gate was situated approximately 200 to 300 yards on the right hand side as you entered the gardens’ main entrance.  Where what I believe was an apple orchard, there was a house which is now the overflow car park. 

‘Unfortunately I never got talking to the lady but she was always friendly and greeted people.

‘We children always thought that she was a member of the Fitzwygram family.

‘The picture brought back many happy memories and I feel privileged to have lived near to such a wonderful playground.’

Roger Young, who worked in the nurseries, which were then the property of the Portsmouth Parks Department, also remembers the woman.

He said: ‘When I was an apprentice working in the gardens in the late 1960s I can remember a lady who was called Mrs Bilky living in a cottage on the Leigh Park House side of the gardens.

‘I think her husband worked for the Fitzwygrams.  After her husband died she was allowed to live in the cottage for the rest of her life.

‘On another note, my mother-in-law worked in Leigh Park House during the war and remembers skating on the lake at the bottom of the lawn.’

n The Regent cinema In London Road brought back an incredible childhood memory for Eric Eddies.

He says: ‘Dennis, my eldest brother, and I were among the first to join the picture club.

‘Our once-a-week excursion was really looked forward to as we set off each Saturday morning to attend the Gaumont British Club held at the Regent cinema in North End.

‘On birthdays and special occasions we were allowed to sit upstairs in the posh seats.

‘It's quite amazing that 70 years have passed and still I remember the club song, tune and words we sang before the films were shown. They were:

We come along on Saturday morning, greeting everybody with a smile.

We come along on Saturday morning, knowing it's all worthwhile.

As members of the GB club we all intend to be, good citizens when we grow up and champions of the free.

We come along on Saturday morning, greeting everybody with a smile – smile – smile.

Greeting everybody with a smile.

Anyone else remember these lyrics?

n Chris Grant, from the Kings Theatre, Southsea, was able to answer my question about Sir Harry Secombe’s visits to the city.

He says: ‘Harry was at the Kings for a week commencing July 29, 1975, the week commencing July 29, 1977, and a one night programme on March 21, 1982.’

And the song and dance man Danny Kaye appeared at South Parade Pie, Southsea, in aid of UNICEF.

Pauline Palmer was in the audience and she tells me: ‘Danny provided the entertainment in his usual manner.

‘He took song requests from the audience too. I really enjoyed it as I have always been a fan of this talented man.  
‘Although it was 63 years ago I remember it well.’