Photographs of big-name TV and stage personalities from yesteryear have been returned to display in a Bridlington barbershop after pleas from customers.
John Butterfield, who is the proprietor of JB’s Barbers and Hairdressers on Landsdowne Road in Bridlington, decided to use the first lockdown last year to refurbish his shop. He was also ready to celebrate thirty years in business at the same shop, but sadly the enforced closures – due to the pandemic – meant that celebrations had to be postponed.
After the last lockdown was lifted, many of his customers were sad to discover the old photographs, which were personally signed to John’s late mother Mary, were due to be put in permanent storage as a planned refurbishment was ready to begin.
“I inherited the pictures from my mum who worked at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford.” explained John. “She started her life-long career there – initially as one of Sunbeam Dancers at the age of 13, and apart from leaving to start the family several years later, she returned to work there and never left the place.”
Mary worked her way up from dancer, to usherette and then to managing the bars at the West Yorkshire theatre complex. Inevitably, after every performance, all the stars would call in for a drink or two and relax and have chat and a laugh
John continued; “All the big TV stars, comedians, singers and groups visited the Alhambra and they all seem to have had a soft spot for Mary. Household names such as Morecambe and Wise, Norman Wisdom, The Grumbleweeds, Cannon and Ball, Norman Collier, and The Nolan Sisters were amongst the many who performed at the theatre and my mum always got a personally signed autograph on their own publicity photographs.”
“I think her favourite star was Les Dawson – as you would expect the message on the picture is a bit cheeky – but my mum always had a soft spot for him. She even had a full set of porcelain Diddymen given to her by Ken Dodd after a run of shows as a thank-you for all her hard work.”
Mary was held in such esteem by the theatre management that when she died her wake was held at the theatre bar she had worked in over the previous five decades.
“She was one of the fixtures and fittings of the theatre and I’m glad she handed the pictures over to me. They’re now a real talking point with customers. Many of my younger clients have heard of quite a few of the twenty or so stars or bands that are featured in the photographs.” added John.
As part of his new refurbishment, John has designated a special wall for the photographs – much to the delight of his many loyal customers and as a fitting tribute to his late mum Mary.
Copyright. Echo Media Group 2021.