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Article taken from the "Your Letters" section of the Evening Telegraph, date unknown.

Joe Evans
Childhood Memories of the 1930s

Picture printed with the letter depicting children of an age about 30 years prior to the period described
This was the picture printed with the letter although it depicts
an age about 30 years prior to the period described.

“They used to be taken for a sniff round the gasworks to cure their whooping cough”

I was chuffed to hear you were putting the spotlight on Burton Latimer.

I was born in 1927 in the old Band Club yard.

Photograph showing the front of The Band Club
The Band Club

The old Band Club concert room was then more or less a tin hut adjoining the stone-built 'beer house'. I remember seeing the first television there, put on by Sid Blundell in 1939 and recall the picture consisting of lines only - with Sid telling everyone that one day 'the set' would be showing pictures.

1920s photograph of The Palace Cinema entrance
The Palace Cinema entrance
to the left of this 1920s photograph

But the real pictures were at the Palace cinema and we kids could get in for twopence to see half-a-dozen different films a week, cowboy films being the most popular with Tom Mix, Tim McCoy and Buck Jones to the fore. The power for the old cinema was generated by their own diesel generator. If we didn't like the films, we kids would sometimes turn the valve off to stop the diesel supply. But they got wise and started to lock up.

Joe's Old Dad,
"local poacher"

Not far from the old Palace was Burton fire station which never failed to interest the kids. When there was a fire, up went a rocket to call the crew. We would tear all round Burton to retrieve the rocket stick.

During my young days, I used to be amazed at the number of pubs and bakers in the village in relation to the population. There were five pubs, five bakers, three good-sized shoe factories, three clothing factories, Weetabix just coming into its own, a station ... it was quite a busy little place in those days.

Boxwells provided us with mains gas from the old gasworks. Kids with whooping cough would always be taken down to the gasworks for a sniff round the plant with the hopes of the fumes curing the ailment. I never knew of any conclusive results.

There were many characters in town including Lucy Stiles, a wonderful pianist, Cherry Nose, the local female tramp and my old dad, the local poacher, who would sell his rabbits and watercress for his beer-and-Woodbine* money. One could go on forever on old Burton.

I love the old place, couldn't swap now - my roots are too deep.

Joe Evans
Station Road

*Editor's note: Woodbine was a popular cigarette of the time. To read more about Woodbine, click here.

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