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Matlock: Production in a Church Hall, 1950s
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Past Matlock & Matlock Bath photographers

This Harry Gill photograph could have been taken in the 1950s, judging by the clothes of the women sitting on the front of the stage. We believe it was a concert party held in the schoolroom of the Primitive Methodist Church on Bank Road. There are proper stage curtains, which the schoolroom had. What might help is that the wall behind the curtain is dressed sandstone, which was then plastered. Also of note are the two gas lights, connected to the ceiling by long pipes.

There was quite a tradition of fundraising concert parties for the church. Before the Second World War a group of young men, called "The Rascals", were entertaining audiences in the schoolroom and by their last concert pre-war in early 1939 - the 11th Concert Party - they had raised around £400[1]. The first night of their 1936 production was presided over by D. M. Wildgoose, with Harold D. Wildgoose as the musical director whilst on the second night L. Farnsworth presided[2]. In 1936 they were dressed in striking black and white costumes and E. H. Farnsworth one of the performers[3]. The women of the church, known as The Pink Dominoes", seem to have given separate performances.

If you can help positively identify the hall, the event or any of the people please contact the web mistress (email in the footer below). It has been suggested that this could have been a production of When We Are Married, a comedy by the English dramatist, J. B. Priestley. It was first performed at the St. Martin's Theatre, London on 11 October 1938. However, the number of women in bonnets and white dresses seems to rule that out.

Two Enlargements to help identify the participants

Back Row:
--- | Bill Farnsworth[4] | ---

Third row:
--- | --- | --- | --- | ---

Second row (seated on a chair on the stage):
--- |

Front row (sitting on the front of the stage):
--- | --- | ---

Back Row:
--- | ---

Third row:
--- | --- | ---

Second row (seated on a chair on the stage):
[Not on this image]

Front row (sitting on the front of the stage):
--- | --- | ---

Photographs by Harry Gill,
In the collection of, provided by and © Ken Smith collection.
Written by and © Ann Andrews.
With thanks to Starkholmes WI for helping with this.
Intended for personal use only.


[1] Derby Daily Telegraph, 24 February 1939.
[2] Derby Daily Telegraph, 19 March 1936.
[3] Derby Daily Telegraph, 18 February 1937.
[4] Bill Farnsworth is said to have had a good tenor voice, which perhaps indicates that the production included quite a lot of singing.