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Wartime Attractions
The day the North Bucks Musice Centre moved
from the Pavillion at Bletchley Park to Holne Chase.

Sunday Citizen July 7, 2002

In an age where musical 'icons' seem now to consist chiefly of semi-adequate karaoke singers, riding on the skill of session musicians, it certainly is refreshing to note that for the boosting of wartime morale, Bletchley audiences often had the benefit of real entertainment - the Studio cinema being the usual venue.

London 'artistes' and radio broadcast bands were all featured, as of course a screening of Albert's very own home-grown Hollywood heart-throb, Robert Douglas, who put his career on hold to assume flying duties in the Fleet Air Arm.

Elsewhere, to divert local minds from the imminence of war, Fenny Stratford Cricket Club staged a Friday whist drive at the Temperance Hall, in George Street, whilst for those feeling a little more frisky, Eddie Friday and his band, from Leighton Buzzard, were on hand to provide musical entertainment at the Coronation Hall, Water Eaton, for a Grand Dance.

Casting their aspirations further afield were the members of the Bletchley Silver Band - now having reached full strength - began rehearsals to compete in the Leicester Band Festival, scheduled for March 4. Of a more local entertainment, in April children from the various Sunday and day schools in the town united to present 'Children Through the Ages', a pageant held in aid of the Waifs and Strays Society and for grown-ups, during May members of the Water Eaton Wl could indulge an enjoyable Wednesday afternoon learning to make 'attractive yet economical dishes', as demonstrated by the untarnished Miss Rust, of the National Milk Publicity Council.

Men, thankfully, had the welcome refuge of the Workingmen's Club which could boost seasonal funds by hiring out two marquees for summer fetes. Perhaps in fact they were suitable for the British Legion Fete, held on

Whit Monday in Bletchley Park, where attractions included a darts tournament, talent competition and pony rides.

A couple of weeks later came an addition of thrills with another 'Grand Fete', this time held in the orchard of Sycamore Farm at Water Eaton which, as an adornment to anyone's back garden, offered the opportunity to win a pig. Girls from the Bletchley schools gave a demonstration of dancing and for those wishing for more of the same, along came a Folk Dance Festival at Bletchley Park, on June 24, the same date as the local Conservative fete. However, here much consternation was caused when 100 buns were nicked until, eventually, several young boys were arrested as the culprits.

Meanwhile, off on their summer jaunt of Clacton were the members, patrons and friends of the Studio cinema, enjoying an

occasion that would prove to be their last excursion before the storm clouds of international conflict broke.

Storm clouds were also a nuisance for the Bletchley Baptists, whose Summer Carnival, promising a Terrific programme of attractions', had to be held indoors after a severe downpour waterlogged their Denmark Street sports ground.

The war would be an immediate, if temporary, halt to the local entertainments in the town but perhaps as compensation, the antics of those hauled before the police court for contravening wartime regulations could often provide a measure of light relief.

Not least the comments of one irate lady from Manor Road who, on being told that her blackout precautions were inadequate, replied in no uncertain terms that the policeman had probably broken down all the fences to get there and it was a pity he hadn't fallen into the stinging nettles.

Not surprisingly her consequent fine reflected her outspoken insolence!