Piecing together memories

This photograph, published in the Gazette at the end of last year, generated a great deal of interest county-wide.

Saturday, 4th February 2017, 1:57 pm
This photograph was supposedly taken at either Glanton or Whittingham Village Hall in 1938. The first three gentlemen standing, left to right Foster Charlton, Jack Armstrong and Bob Clark. Front left seated is Will Atkinson.

Thanks to that interest, and help from the photograph’s owner Ernie Gordon, we have been able to put names to the majority of faces to the previously unidentified musicians of that time.

It was taken inside the Glanton Memorial Hall in 1938. Those in the picture had performed a concert to commemorate the opening and/or the restoration of the hall. Almost all were distinguished guests of Jack Armstrong and his band, gathered together for the occasion.

Information about the photograph came mainly from relatives of those in the picture, but there was also a great amount of interest shown, and confirmation received, from members of the traditional music public of that era, who recognised some of the musicians.

Reader Jimmy Little gave most of the information. His grandfather, Bill Drummond, is in the picture, whose pipes Jimmy inherited.

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Margaret Dixon, of Lilburn, racked her brain to identify several faces.

Another in the picture is the late George Taylor, a fiddler and piper whose grandson David lives near Powburn and also inherited his grandfather’s pipes.

Ernie said: “I am grateful to David for a marvellous Saturday afternoon talking over old times, with many fond memories resurrected from loads of old photographs – a wonderful step back in time.”

Named so far we have, standing from left to right: Foster Charlton, Jack Armstrong, Bob Clarke, Bill Drummond, the next two are unknown, then Alice Ellis, unknown, Jack Thompson, unknown, Walter Wilson, and unknown at the back right corner.

Seated in front, left to right, are: Will Atkinson, Lance Robson, unknown, and George Taylor.

Ernie added: “I would still like to identify the lady Highland dancer and the Highland piper if at all possible. Having been an active member of the Morpeth Highland Pipe Band in the 1950s/60s it is of particular curiosity to me.

“One day perhaps all in the picture will be identified. Thanks to all those who called or emailed to discuss the picture, and the Gazette for making it happen.”