Some of my earliest memories revolve around those, which appeared at the time to be endless summer days. Hanging on the back of the water cart on Beach Road. T his was drawn by a horse, the object being to wash the roads clear of urine and dung spread by other horses. We would hang on until the Carter would pull the lever and wash us off. Picnics in one of fathers tents on the beach opposite the Ravine and staying there until I would be given a free ride home by the donkey and pony rides operator, who would be taking his charges back home to the marshes for the night. His site was at the bottom of the Ravine next to the Roman Fountain.
One of the highlights was a visit on Saturday evening to Ernie Hills Restaurant, which was situated opposite the main entrance to the enclosed Gorleston Bandstand with its grassed area for dancing, seats and shelters. Hills restaurant was situated at the top of Pavilion Road. We would be seated upstairs and always seemed to have a table overlooking the crowds who were dancing on the grass to the music coming from the bandstand. One of Ernie Hills specialties would have been (Ices served in silver goblets). His daughter Helen Hill, was a well known entertainer at this time. Helen started her career in show biz. First appearing on stage at the Gorleston Pavilion opposite his restaurant. Helen who was a singer, went on to appear in wartime light entertainment movies made by the Butcher film company.
Every summer during those prewar years, a group of young ladies named the Figure Eightís would perform on the grassed area close to the bandstand. Dressed in shorts and tops, they would line up and perform all manner of athletic exercises and dances whilst tossing large rubber balls to one another which at that time drew thunderous applause from the spectators, who paid sixpence entrance fee during the day to listen to the band and one shilling in the evenings to dance and watch the girls go through their paces! (I guess today we would have all yawned and headed home to watch TV) .Our loss I guess. At this time The Northern Follies summer show was booked at the Pavilion.
I remember on two occasions during this period, having to go on stage to receive the lucky programme prize.
Another event, which was always great fun, was the Gorleston Carnival Parade. As far as I can remember the proceeds collected went to the Gorleston hospital. This small photo Shows my mother as Anne Boleyn, My sister Eileen As a Swiss miss and little me. God knows what I was supposed to be. But I know what I felt like! Mr. Attree senior, (who was the owner manager on the Gorleston Coliseum picture theatre before the war) always dressed as John Bull and certainly looked the part with his added advantage of a ready-made corpulent figure! Everyone had such a good time. I guess it was because they were very good at making their own entertainment.
Myself and most of my little mates. Spent the warm summer evenings prowling up and down the sea front asking every young man and sometimes girls if they had any cigarette cards, as almost everyone smoked. We had huge collections, some of which were really beautiful and would be worth a fortune today. (Some were flags of all nations and military badges printed on pure silk.) On Saturday mornings all the kids went to the Tuppenny Rush at the Coliseum. Mr. Attree would come on stage to announce what we were to see on that day and also the forthcoming attractions, amidst a great uproar. Most of the kids sat at the front in the Tupenny seats, and the more fortunate ones with fourpence sat at the back. We would watch our favorite serials I/E. Buster Crabbe in Flash Gordonís Trip to Mars, and Crash Corrigan and the undersea kingdom. . Buck Jones ,as The Phantom Rider ! (Would you believe it? A cowboy dressed in a white sheet!) and Last but not least The Scorpion! With his arm raised so that his black cloak covered his mouth and as far as we could see his eyes as well! How the hell he managed to scuttle about without bumping into walls and doorways Iíll never know. Once a year they had a film show when the admittance fee was a couple of chickenís eggs. I believe the eggs went to the hospital. You should have heard the kids crying when someone in the queue gave a shove, and the kids in front dropped their admission fee!
After the Saturday Rush, us kids who lived near the harbour, would make straight for the council blocks which were at that time being constructed below Pier Plain, on Bells Marsh Road. Builders didnít work on Saturday afternoonís .so we had the run of the site, with little Tarzanís and Flash Gordon midgets clambering all over the scaffolds. The world was our oyster. Little did we know of what was just over the horizon.