Portsmouth Music Scene


The Portsmouth Music Scene
1944


January 1st 1944 was a Saturday and at the Kings Theatre in Albert Road, was the Pantomime Cinderella, including a flying ballet.
At the Coliseum in Edinburgh Road, a Variety show featuring the Monarchs of Music.
There was a film at the Theatre Royal, "Millions like us", starring Eric Portman and Gordon Jackson.
Geraldo could be heard on the Home Service at 4pm.
At the Empress Ballroom at North End Junction you could dance to Jimmy Harris and his band with vocalist Gerry Leach. At the Angerstein Hall there was dancing on Monday Wednesday and Friday.
At the Conservative Dance Hall at the corner of Hampshire Street and Fratton Road, was the music of Robbie's Dance Band.
Wally Fry and his Collegians were playing on the South Parade Pier.
At the Trades Hall Cosham Billy Bennett's Brilliant Band, could be heard and danced to.
Kimbells in Osborne Road also advertised 'Dancing' and in Europe, the war continued.
January 3rd Alan Green's Band could be found playing at the Ambassador Ballroom Cosham, later called Odeon, more recently a Bingo Hall.
January 4th I arrived.
January 5th The Canadian Highlanders entertained a party of children at Court Lane School At McIlroys in North End, afternoon frock were on sale at 20/8d coats at 29/6d, heavy duty blackout cloth 50 inches wide at 2/10 per yard.
January 6th Brian and his Gaiety Club Band.
January 7th John Dyer at 167/9 Elm Grove were selling corsets at 20/-d, Pinarettes 3/1d, industrial aprons 3/11and half penny.
There was a concert at the Milton hospital, with pocket subrete Katie Pearson.
January 8th, Saturday, There was greyhound racing at the Tipnor Stadium.
At the Coliseum a variety show with Ventriloquist Arthur Worsley.
The Bradford junction Plaza cinema was showing "Old Mother Riley in business".
January 11th The Tramway Hall in Stubbington Ave dancing to PCPDB ?(Portsmouth City police Dance Band?)
January 12th Miss Elsie Dines and her Dynamites were entertaining the forces at the YMCA.
January 15th, Saturday, At A W White in North End you could buy a piano for £6/19/6da gas cooker for £7/15/0d. and a sideboard for £4/19/6d.
January 17th Irene Scharrer gave the first of a series of piano concerts at the Kings Theatre for the Portsmouth Music Club.
January 23rd The Gaiety cinema at the Albert Road/Highland Road junction had the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby film "Road to Singapore".
January 21st On South Parade Pier Jack Payne and his Orchestra with vocalists Carroll Carr, Betty Webb and Peter Howard played at the Police Ball.
January 24th Radio favourites Beryl Orde and Monty Rey were at the Kings Theatre.
January 26th The Landport Drapery Bazaar selling Cami-knickers at 5/9d.
January 28th Nancarrows Band played at the Rathgar Hall, London Road, North End.
At the Regent and Plaza cinemas George Formby was in "Bell Bottom George"
Piano wizard Charlie Kunz was at the Kings Theatre.
Unity Hall Arundel Street, dancing to Brian(late of jack Payne and Jack Hylton's bands) and his Gaiety Club Band.
Conservative Dance Hall Fratton Road, "Always a jolly time with Robbie's Dance Band".
January 29th, Saturday, Dancing at the Co-operative Hall Garnier Street.
Wally Fry and his Collegians at South Parade Pier.
Billy Bennett’s Brilliant Band at the Trades Hall Cosham.
Jimmy Harris and his band with Gerry Leach, late of Oscar Rabin's band, at the Angerstein Hall Monday and Wednesday for 1/6d and Saturday 2/-.
January 31st The Portsmouth Home guard give a children's party at St Saviours Hall Twyford Ave.
February 1st At the Ambassador Ballroom Cosham, Alan Green's band with Lew Harris, and hostess Eilene McCaffery.
February 2nd Dancing at the Empress Ballroom at North End, Kimbells Osborne Road and the Unity Hall, South Parade Pier with Wally Fry, Jimmy Harris Band at Angerstein Hall, Billy Bennett at the Trades Hall Cosham, Robbie's Dance band at the Conservative Dance Hall Fratton Road. Alan Green and Lew Harris at the Ambassador Ballroom Cosham, action at all these on a Wednesday night.
At Melanies North End, a Twilfit corset with busk front at 11/11d.
February 5th, Saturday, Cooperative laundry Dance at the Westbury Hall Fareham in aid of the Red Cross prisoners of War Fund.
February 6th At the Savoy café, Fairway Follies in a grand variety Show. Wilfred Hubbard(card wizard), Lillian Dunkley (pianist and entertainer), Alice Cotty(comedienne), Charles Harris(compère and humourist) and Elise Relpah at the piano.
The Casuals, Portsmouth Civil Defence Concert Party, paid another visit to a naval establishment on the South coast and gave a two hour non-stop variety concert to a packed theatre.
Millwards in Albert Road were offering a special offer of useful shoes for 15/- and 5 coupons a pair.
At the Kings, Issy Bonn, Radio start of mirth and melody.
February 11th Royal navy and Royal Maine boxing, Chatham v Portsmouth at the South Parade Pier.
February 12th, Saturday, Theatre Royal showing the film "Flesh and Fantasy" with Barbara Stanwyck.
February 14th McIlroys North End selling baby's cot quilts for 9/5d.
February 15th Swingcopators playing for dancing at the St Mary's Institute.
A concert for Services specially invited TocH, at the Masonic Hall Cosham by Madame Cannaway's concert party.
February 17th Bulpitts in Kingston Road, selling Wincyette Nightdresses for 5/11d.
February 19th, Saturday, Dancing at the Tramway Club North End, opposite Empress Garage, to the Swingcopators sweet and swing music band.
February 21st A performance of the Student Prince at the Kings Theatre is cancelled as the scenery has not arrived.
February 26th, Saturday, Gosport Connaught Drill Hall, Fleetlands dance, with the Meridian Dance Orchestra.
February 29th Dancing at the Tramway Hall North End opposite Empress garage The Swingcopators Rhythm Band.
March 1st Nancorrows Trio playing at the Under 35's club at the Temple of Spiritualism 73a Victoria Road South.
March 3rd Prisoner of war fund dance at the Lee Tower to the St Vincent Royal Marine Band.
March 5th Portsmouth Jazz Club at the Conservative Club Fratton Road, presents Tony Cobden, followed by a jam session.
March 9th Richard Tauber at the Kings Theatre.
March 14thThe Unity Four Band were at the Unity Hall in Arundel Street.
March 17th St Patrick Day Dance at Unity Hall with Brian and his Gaiety Club Band, the snappiest, swingingest band in the South.
March 17th At the Conservative Dance Hall Robbie's Dance Band Monday to Friday 1/3d Saturday 1/6d. Dance halls ran from 7pm to 10pm.
March 18th, Saturday, Pompey lose to Tottenham at Fratton Park.
March 20th. At the Coliseum Ralph Sutton, Britain’s Premier Light Comedian and full supporting cast at 5.10pm and 7pm.
March 21st A Sunbeams Concert at 202 New Road adults 1/s kiddies 6d.
March 22nd Portsmouth Jazz Club presented three guests, Derrick Stewart Baxter, John Von Prague and Horace Harris, there was a jam session to end the evening.
At the Old Bailey, the trial of Portsmouth medium Helen Duncan, pleaded not guilty to contravening the Witchcraft act of 1735.
March 23rd Jack Tinn completes 25 years as Pompey Manager.
March 24th Friday dance at St Saviours Hall in Twyford Avenue.
March 25th, Saturday, at the Royal Engineers Drill Hall Commercial Road a 7pm to10pm dance for a 'Jolly time and spot prizes'!
Schools will be visited from April to June to administer Diphtheria Immunisations.
March 28th Beginners ballroom dancing classes at the Wellington Hall Wellington Street, near Russell Street.
J Davison of 234/6/8 Commercial Road were offering children's coats at 14/- and Celanese Knickers at 2/-d a pair.
April 1st, Saturday, At the Kings Theatre Flora Robson in the play 'Guilty'.
Ambassador Odeon Theatre Cosham !!! Jimmy Harris plays at the Angerstein Hall Conservative Dance Hall Robbie's Dance Band April 7th Good Friday Haydn’s the Creation at London Road Baptist Church, soloists with the Portsmouth Glee Club.
South Parade Pier recommencement of concerts, Harry Fryer and his BBC Orchestra.
April 8th, Saturday, Len Ashdown and his Rhythm Aces at St Mary's Institute.
April 9th At the South Parade Pier Oscar Rabin and his Band.
April 15th, Saturday, Deverall Hall Purbrook dancing to Harry Sutton's Band.
At the Coliseum Gloria Gaye and her all-ladies band. Dancing at Somerset Road's British Restaurant (The Strand) with Wally Fry.
April 16th At the South Parade Pier, Lou Preager and his Orchestra with Edna Kaye, Paul Rich and the Swingtette.
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April 21st Dancing every Friday at the Rathgar Hall London Road(opposite Ophir Road).
April 22nd, Saturday, Gladys Sewell, Portsmouth's own Star light Comedienne appears at the Coliseum.
Conservative Dance Hall Robbie's Dance Band
April 24th Re-opening of the Oddfellows Hall with dancing to the Melody Makers.
April 26th at the Wesley Central Hall, Salute the Soldier Rally and variety entertainment with the band of the Royal Marines.
April 27th Variety Show at the Three Arts Club. Amongst others, Wren June Flavell gave some amusing advice on how to be 'Madly Gay'
The New Orleans Jazz Band at St Mary's Institute.
May 1st Dance at the Clifton Ballroom, Kimbells, Osborne Road.
May 2nd reopening of St Patrick's Hall Winter Road with dancing to the Paramount Band.
At the Theatre Royal, Arthur Askey in a production called Bees in Paradise.
The Portsmouth Jazz Club had a recital called 'Boogie for the beasts, or passions and their styles. In attendance was Bill Cole amongst others.
May 3rd Alan Green Ambassador Ballroom, Wally Fry British Restaurant, Billy Bennett Cosham Trades Hall, Jimmy Harris Oddfellows Hall, Robbie's Dance Band Conservative Dance Hall, Unity Four Band Unity Hall.
Kimbells Osborne Road dancing.
May 4th Brian & his Gaiety Club Band at Unity Hall.
May 5th At the Kings Theatre, on two pianos, Rawitz and Landauer to a packed house.
May 6th, Saturday, Fleetlands Sports Club hold a dance at Kimbells Osborne Road.
Dancing at St Saviours Hall Strode Road, Twyford Avenue.
May 8th The Happy go lucky Concert Party entertained at the Fratton Trades hall and included a comedian, novelty whistler, conjurer and singer.
May 12th British Home Store reopen their Portsmouth store.
The Ambassador Cinema at Cosham advertise the Odeon Café Restaurant, At your service with food as with entertainment.
May 15th At the Coliseum Dorothy Squires and Billy Reid and Handleys in Palmerston Road were selling ankle sock in various summer shades for 3/- and 14 coupons a pair.
The Melody Makers playing for dancing at the Oddfellows Hall tonight.
May 19th The Portsmouth Dancing club 7pm to 10pm at the Victory Hall Fratton Road.
May 19th The Portsmouth Dancing club 7pm to 10pm at the Co-operative Hall Fratton Road.
May 24th The Portsmouth Glee Club perform 'Maritana' at the Central Hall Fratton Road.
May 28th Evelyn Laye at the Kings Theatre with Mr Jetsom.
May 23rd Dancing at the Tramway Hall to Brian and his Orchestra.
At the Empress Ballroom North End dancing to the new 9 piece augmented Band.
May 25th Under 35 Club dancing to the Police Band at the Temple of Spiritualism 73a Victoria Road South.
REGO of 202 Commercial Road, Tailored to measure suits from 95/-d each.
May 28th The Regent Plaza is showing Fanny by Gaslight with Phyllis Calvert and James Mason.
At the Drill Hall in Hampshire Terrace the RAF Dance band for 1/6d single 2/6d double.
May 29 Jimmy Harris at the Angerstein Hall Cosham Trades Hall has Billy Bennett, Robbie's Dance Band at the Conservative Dance Hall, Alan Green at the Ambassador Ballroom The Celebrated Portsmouth Swing and Sweet Tempo Band play at the Petersfield Town Hall.
June 1st At the County School Gosport dancing to Meridian Dance Band.
June 3rd, Saturday, Matinee dance at The Oddfellows Hall from 2-30pm for 6d.
June 4th Buckland Congregational Church a music lovers evening with the Stringer Ensemble.
June 6th Bill Cole and his Clubmen at the Tramways Hall North End.
June 7th At the Angerstein Hall The Jimmy Harris Swingtette.
June 12th Hilsea Lido Café Brian and his Gaiety Club Band.
June 13th International ballet from the Savoy Theatre London for five nights and three matinees at the Kings Theatre.
At the Tramway Hall, Brian and his Carnival Club Band and at the Hilsea Lido Café Brian and his Gaiety Club Band.
June 14th Bill Cole and his Clubmen were placed 3rd in the Kodak South of England Swing band Championship at Harrow. Nelson Peters won the award for the best bass player in the competition and Erick Stroud(vibes) was highly commended as was the rest of the band.
June 16th At Petersfield Town Hall dancing to Harry Sutton's Portsmouth Band.
June 17th, Saturday, Harry Lester and his Hayseeds appear at the Coliseum.
At the Kings Theatre Younkmand and his Famous Czardas Orchestra perform.
June 24th In a fête at Wymering Manor ground with cabaret and dancing turns by the Melody Makers.
At the Kings Theatre Murray and Mooney and supporting cast. Chick Murray?
June 27th The Florence Greaves Singers perform at the the Queens Hall, Buckland Municipal Restaurant in aid of Comforts for our invasion wounded.
Bill Cole and his Clubmen appear at the Tramway Hall North End admission 1/6d.
July 1st, Saturday, Albert Road Conservative Hall reopens with dancing.
July 5th The Florence Greaves Singers perform at the Trinity Methodist School Hall in Albert Road with Donald Cox, Baritone.
July 15, Saturday, Bill Cole and his Clubmen play at the Royal Engineers Drill Hall in aid of the Red Cross and Prisoners of war fund.
July 22nd, Saturday, Felix Mendelssohn and his Hawaiian Serenaders appear at the Kings Theatre July 24th, Saturday, Dancing to the New Cosmo Band at the Rathgar Hall.
July 26th At the Angerstein Hall, Jimmy Harris presents the New Orleans on Wednesday and Saturday.
July 29th, Saturday, 1,500 smiling happy healthy children take part in a youth pageant at Fratton Park.
July 30th In the small ads;- Dance band? Write "Brian" 74 Hartley Road North End Portsmouth. 4 to 14 musicians as required.
August 3rd The High Street fur Stores selling beaver, lamb and antelope coats at 39 guineas.
August 5th, Saturday, At Wymering Racecourse a Horse Show and Gymkhana.
August 7th At Wymering racecourse All in Wrestling, main bout Anaconda(24 stone giant) v Chick Knight (20 stone ex army champion).
August 18th The Evening News reported a serious shortage of rubber teats in Portsmouth.
August 19th, Saturday, Rose Marie with Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy at the Savoy, Apollo and Carlton cinemas.
A Services tattoo at Fratton Park.
August 24th Dancing every Thursday at Milton Church hall.
August 30th The Portsmouth Music Club give a classical concert with Helen Hoskin (contralto).
Bill Cole and his Clubmen play at the Rugby Camp in Copnor Road.
September 4th At the Kings Theatre Hermione Baddley and Leslie Henson in Africa Stars.
September 11th At the Trades Hall Cosham, there is a Foxtrot Contest.
Wally Fry and his Collegians return to nightly weekday dancing at the South Parade Pier. It seems their residency at the British Restaurant is finished.
September 14th at the Drill Hall, Gosport, dancing to the Gunworpheans Dance Orchestra.
September 15th At the British Restaurant Havant Road Drayton, in aid of the National Fire Service Benevolent Fund, the with National Fire Service C Div Dance Band.
September 24th At the Kings Theatre, a municipal concert by the Royal Air Force Symphony Orchestra. The Portsmouth Dance Club have Frank Isherwood and Ivy Radley giving ballroom dance instructions to members.
A small ad in the Evening News,.. Open for good engagements only, Black and White Deadbeats with exceptional crooner; all experienced profs, microphone essential. Box News Office.
September 28th At the Trades Club Cosham, Nibbs and Scott Sports Club Dance with Billy Bennett.
October 3rd At the Kings Theatre, the Portsmouth City Police 1944 Revue.
Lord George Sanger's Circus on the Recreation Ground Cosham.
The Dockyard Home Guard hold their annual dance at the Wessex Drill Hall with dancing to Madame Courtney's Dance Band.
Wally Fry is at the South Parade Pier each weekday evening.
Empress Ballroom Dancing Monday to Saturday to the new augmented 9 piece band.
The Gosport Communist party hold a dance at the Connaught Drill Hall Gosport.
October 4th In the classified column a message from "Brian" about his birthday party at the lido, A special extension until 11pm and a promise of an evening to remember. The famous Gaiety club Band have been engaged, the original orchestrations of many of the greatest "hits" of the decade. He also added a heartfelt message of thanks to his friends and supporters and pays tribute to the unselfish endeavours of all his bands.
October 7th, Saturday, Waverley Park roller skating rink re-opens.
Dances to be held each Saturday at the Trades Union Club hall, Leesland Lane Gosport.
The Portsmouth Jazz club at the Conservative Club in Fratton Road present recording of the Eddie Condon Jazz concert, direct from America, followed by a jam session.
October 8th At the Kings Theatre, the band of the Royal Marines conducted by Captain Vivian Dunn with Maura Lyman at the piano.
The Portsmouth Dance Club at the Conservative Club Fratton Road with instruction from Frank Isherwood and Ivy Bradley.
October 10th New all professional band available, 20 Simpson Road North End.
Friday nights at the Portsmouth Dance club are discontinued but it will be Sundays as usual.
October 14th, Saturday, Dancing every Saturday at the Wellington Hall.
The Recorded Music Society meet at the Carnegie Library Fratton Road.
At the Chapman's Hall in Kingston Crescent, dancing to Eric Madison's Band.
October 16th Melody makers at the Odd Fellows Hall.
October 17th At the Angerstein Hall Jimmy Harris presents the New Orleans.
October 26th At the Kings Theatre, The Carl Rosa Opera Company, with Australian Joan Hammond, performing Madam Butterfly, The Tales of Hoffmann, and La Traviata.
At the Coliseum, Pin-up Parade with Cyril Dowler.
October 26th Dance at the British Restaurant, Walpole Road, Gosport.
October 27th At Connaught Drill Gosport, dancing to the Blue Eagles Orchestra.
At the Landport Drapery Bazaar 3/11 Kingston Road ladies smart handbags at 27/-d.
October 30th Two sailors are charged at Portsmouth Court with stealing two bicycles from outside of the Cosham Trades club.
They were fined £2 each.
November 4th, Saturday, The tariff for a three course meal in a Portsmouth British Restaurant is 1/2d.(6p in 2009 value)
November 10th Boxing on South Parade Pier, includes an exhibition bout featuring Freddie Mills.
November 11th, Saturday, At the Wesley Central Hall the British Legion hold a festival of remembrance.
At the Coliseum, Jane of the Daily Mirror in "Stage Door".
Portsmouth Police hold a dance at the Masonic Hall Cosham with music from the City Police Orchestra under the direction of PC Nash.
November 15th Portsmouth City Police Choir sing at the Wesley Central Hall, Fratton Road.
November 16th On South parade pier, the third annual National Fire Service Ball featuring the National Fire service Southern Regional Dance Orchestra.
November 18th, Saturday, Portsmouth Choral Union at the Copnor Methodist Hall, tickets from Weston Hart North End.
November 19th Dance at Cowplain Social Club, servicemen free! At Cosham Trades Hall dancing on Wednesdays and Saturdays to recorded music.
November 24th Royal Artillery Ball on South Parade Pier dancing to the Royal Artillery Salisbury Plain Dance band.
At the Kings Theatre, Arthur Askey in The Love Racket.
December 4th At the Kings Theatre, Richard Tauber, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth and Rawicz and Landauer, on separate nights.
December 7th At the Empress ballroom North End, Prince-Cox and his Co-operative Dance band Monday to Friday 1/6d.
Saturday matinee at 1/- and Saturday evening at 2/-d.
December 9th, Saturday, Farewell night from Brian and his Gaiety Club Band at Hilsea lido Ballroom to take up a residency 'elsewhere'.
South Parade Pier have 'Collegians' and 'New Orleans', two bands in two ballrooms through December.
At the Trades Union Club hall, Southampton Road, Cosham dancing Wednesday and Saturday to the Savoy Dance Orchestra with Eric Maddison.
December 12th Bill Cole and his Clubmen(3rd in the 1944 South of England Dance Band Contest) take up a residency at the Hilsea Lido Cafe.
At the Portsea Parish Hall the Swingcopators from 7pm to 10pm for 1/6d.
The Manhattan dance band were advertising for bookings in the Evening News with a box number.
December 15th Brian and his Carnival Band appear at the Unity Hall in Arundel Street.
December 17th The Portsmouth Jazz Club at the Conservative Hall Fratton Road present BBC Critic Peter Tanner and 'An evening with Teddy Bunn', followed by a jam session with Phil Bryant(trumpet) and David Channon(electric guitar).
December 18th On his way to play dame in the panto at the Kings theatre, Bruce Green, age 68, collapsed and died on Waterloo Station. He was replaced by Norman Griffin in Babes in the wood.
December 22nd Advert in the Evening News, Wanted, Dance musicians apply Len Johnson, Clarence Barracks.
At the Coliseum The world famous male impersonator Hetty King.
December 29th Advert in the Evening News, Five Star Swingers will make your dance go with a swing, Phone Portsmouth 5689.
December 30th, Saturday, Hart Plain Avenue School New year's eve dance with Billy Bennett and his Band.
At the Angerstein Hall Jimmy Harris presents Alf Hallman and his band.
December 24th at St Mary's Hall opposite St Mary's Church, with Billy Bennett's Dance Band augmented with the Hants County Accordion Club.

Thoughts on the year.
When reading the first few lines above, the norm would appear to have been for venues to have the same bands, and bands to prefer a residency.
The war seemed to be ending and the city entertainments were trying to return to a busy night life.
One notable missing venue in this year, is the Savoy Ballroom at Southsea, where as the South Parade Pier was as busy as ever.
Sometime in 1944, The Glenn Miller Band played at the Rugby Camp in Portsmouth, but the Evening News at the time, did not report on it.

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