Old Time Music Halls


The adjacent photograph, kindly supplied to us by Mrs Pat Bateman whom we thank, shows performers and ‘front of house’ of one of the late Jenny Sharman’s ‘Old Time Music Halls’. These were organised under the auspices of the Teynham and Lynsted Welcome Home Sports and Social Committee (TLWHSSC) and a number were run very successfully during the late 1970s early 1980s at the then, Labour Hall.

It was asked, what year was this one? Where you there? Are you in the photograph or know anyone who is? Any memories on these and of the TLWHSSC would be welcomed. These requests attracted the following resposes.

Memories of the Old Time Music Halls

The Editorial Team was pleased to receive the memories of Mr David Rumble on the photograph on the front cover of the Autumn Edition of Teynham News which in turn sparked memories in others. We hope the recollections below may bring back memories for other readers which could possibly fill the remaining gaps. If so we should be pleased if you would share them with us.

It was great to see the photo of the Old Time Music Hall (OTMH) group but I cannot remember the date for this one. Dawn, my wife at the time, and I supplied the music and the piano with help of CB Hardware’s lorry for most of these shows. Dawn on piano, me on drums and lots of rehearsals at our home too.
In the photo we are on the left top row next to Jennifer Sharman (Jenny). Burt Bowden a real favourite is right of Jenny to the back. My mother, Daisy, (ex Queen’s Cinema silent pianist) also took part in this one and is the silver haired lady fourth on the right from Brian Sharman. On another year one of my sons also took part so, as you can see, it was almost a family affair and it was a very happy time. The hall was usually packed.

Pat Smith of the Scouts is just in front left of my mother and is the only other one apart from Matthew Craven (Great Voice) just visible top row fifth from right (I think). I can see familiar faces but cannot recall their names but I am sure others will provide them and enjoy remembering happy times.

David Rumble

Thank you for sharing your memories with us of the Old Time Music Hall. I believe I remember your son being in an OTMH I attended (he was very enthusiastic) and it may have been Dawn on the piano but it was organised by Matthew Craven so it was later than the one on the front cover of Teynham News. There was also a Comedian with a dustbin on his back (he came from Sheppey, I think). Burt Bowden was also there.

Chris McIlroy, Clerk to the Council

More Memories

Andrew Rumble played for Jennifer in a couple of OTMHs. Jennifer, always the ‘prima donna’, nagged Andrew about his ‘roving’ right hand twinkling the piano keys when it wasn’t in the operatic music score. I remember David on drums with Dawn on piano. Dawn’s piano came too because Roger Banning could not bring the Labour Hall piano properly up to tune as it had not been touched in years. Jennifer’s Mum also played piano for one or two shows, at least the first. Burt/Bert Bowden was born and lived his early life in the theatrical area of the West End of London - a very lovely man and a character.

Bill Smith (then married to Pat) is directly behind and above her on the back row. Bill was also the doorman wearing a bus driver’s/conductor’s heavy coat. Along with their son, also in the back row, they mimed to the Andrew’s Sisters song “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B” and brought the house down.

Eileen Cant is to the left of David Rumble’s mother in the same row. She dressed me, in a bra, padding and all, for one OTMH when I sang ‘No one loves a fairy when she’s forty’ - my Mum disowned me. Eileen was ‘famous’ for her accordion playing. Mary Andrews from the London Road, is third from right in the wings. Mr Andrews does not appear to be in the photograph, so it is not the first OTMH, as he was in that with his famous monologues, before he sadly died shortly afterwards.

Jennifer’s Mum is the next one along, covering who it is believed to be Matthew Craven. Matthew regularly accompanied Jenny, at this time, in Gilbert and Sullivan operatic numbers. Matthew also did other popular numbers like “The Sloth”, where he was strapped underneath a pole.

Next to Jennifer’s Mum, to her right, may be Mary Matthews, who was possibly in the melodrama being banished from her home on a cold winter’s night by the nastiest of villains. Adrian Cheeseman, in front of me with Peter Killick (C&B Hardware) to his right, arranged the melodramatic melodramas. The lady on the far right may be Kay Cheeseman. Bob Scrivener from Sittingbourne, centre with the moustache, was the master of ceremonies.

The Waiters who served drinks to the audience were:- Gordon Bateman, Dave Harris, Andy Blades ??, Pete Wisbey, Norman Parris (behind) and Pete Illes. For one show, along with others in the cast, they opened with the theme song from ‘It Ain’t Half Hot, Mum’.

A number of the girls were from a Sittingbourne dance school. The younger girl shown second right, I believe, sang ‘Bring on the Clowns’ unaccompanied, which was very new and popular at the time. She had just won a talent competition. One of the W.I. groups also featured and Jennifer rehearsed them on Wednesday afternoons over a bottle of sherry. The Dustbin man was introduced in one of Jennifer’s OTMHs and was a great hit with his entry, ‘carrying a dustbin’, from the back of the Hall.

The scenery was made of painted cardboard used to make whisky boxes. Jennifer and I built and painted the flats and pelmet on our driveway. The main curtains were borrowed from Phyllis Coppins. I don’t know who supplied the glittery back drop but for some shows we used one showing an old town scene from Joan Dutton of Lewson Street. So full was the Hall that raised platforms were built at the back so that people could see the stage better. There were only rows of chairs here not tables like in the rest of the Hall.

‘Health and safety’ had not been invented, we did things that would not be permitted today, but ‘Localism’ was in full swing, but has since disappeared, hopefully to return.

Brian Sharman, Teynham News Editor

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Memories of more Old Time Music Halls

otmh host
Music Hall Chairman
Bob Scrivener takes dancer
Sandra Carpenter for a spin.

It was good to read about the recollections of the OTMHs in the Winter 2011 edition of Teynham News. I can’t help with the date of the show depicted on the cover of the Autumn edition, other than to suggest it was not 1982, ‘83 ‘84 or ‘85. 1982 was one of the years when Jenny Sharman was not available, and Matthew Craven and Norma Baxter stepped in to produce and direct the show, which I believe was the sixth. The pictures and captions give the details of the artistes on that occasion. Norma and Matthew produced further shows, in 1983, 1984 and 1985.

Images that particularly stick in my memory over this time are of Bert Bowden playing his ‘mouth matchbox’, Adrian Cheeseman all at sea with a cardboard telescope in the melodrama, and the Cats’ Whiskers dance troupe performing ‘Singing in the Rain’ - in transparent plastic raincoats! Happy days!

Bob Baxter


otmh dancers

A touch of the roaring twenties from the dancers

Packed House for musical memories

(Report from the Gazette and Times 25-11-82)

otmh cast

Old Time Music Hall came back to Teynham on Saturday. More than 130 people packed Teynham Labour Hall for a variety show put on by the Teynham and Lynsted Social Committee.

Bob Scrivener was the chairman of the 6th annual "Teynham Music Hall which featured Ray Hitch, landlord of the village’s Dover Castle public house as Al Jolson, and singing "Sonny Boy" in a double act with Bill Smith.

The show, organised by social committee member Mrs Pat Bateman gave the audience plenty of chance to sing along with local musical entertainers like Bert Bowden, Matthew Craven and Nesta King. otmh waiter

Mr Craven performed the monologue, "The Lion and Albert," comedian Martin Goodhew treated the audience to a humorous song and Frank Poole donned wig and long dress for an energetic impersonation of Shirley Bassey. Melodrama was presented with the excerpt from "The Old Red Barn" staged by Adrian Cheeseman. Julie Smith and Bob Baxter and there was a selection of favourites from the musical “Annie," sung by Rosalyn and Tony Brinnand.

The entertainment usually run in aid of Teynham's Children’s Christmas Party and the ‘annual tour’ by Father Christmas, is not expected to make a profit this year because the organisers had the expense of new scenery and lighting. They hope to be back into profit next year.

music hall ticket

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The photographs below are of the 1977 show with Mary Mathews, Bob Scrivener and Jennifer Sharman on stage and the audience enjoying the show.

The 'curtains' back of stage are made of cardboard from whisky cartons and painted with emulsion paint. Note the old gas heaters hung from the ceiling in the hall. The covers over the footliights were made of aluminium food containers. A potent mix!!music hall ticker later

Although smoking was allowed and cigarettes were being sold, unusually for the time, nobody appears to be smoking.

These links are to the pdf versions the 1978, 1979 and 1981 programmes.which open in separate windows.

music hall stagemusic hall audience