Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

From the Music Shop to the Land Army

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

From the Music Shop to the Land Army

Article excerpt

PATRICIA Goodwin of Stainton has been recalling her days when she lived and worked in Middlesbrough in the 1930s and her time during the war.

Patricia, now a very sprightly 90-year-old who still drives her own car, remembers that her first job when she left school at 14 years old was to work in Harry Wilkinson's music shop on Linthorpe Road. The music shop was almost opposite the Gaumont Cinema, which used to stand on the corner of Southfield Road. Patricia's grandfather made violins and bows for the music shop and it was through his influence that young Patricia began to work there in 1934.

Wilkinson's had the largest collection of sheet music in the North of England and supplied schools, choirs, church organists and piano teachers. In the days before gramophones were a household item and few people bought records, sheet music was the most popular way of distributing the latest tunes and songs, which were played at the cinema or on the radio.

Sheet music was regularly supplied to the Gaumont, Elite and Odeon cinemas. Harry Wilkinson was also responsible for writing and composing a long forgotten piece of music especially for Middlesbrough.

It was entitled the Middlesbrough Carnival Song and, as it said on the front of the music sheet, which Patricia has carefully preserved - "Entire Proceeds From The Sale Of This Song To Be Given To The Mayor's Carnival Fund". Although Patricia cannot remember why there was a carnival or why it was composed she agrees that it was most likely to commemorate the town's centenary celebrations in 1931. The opening lines of the Middlesbrough Carnival Song went: The Carnival's here so the Mayor invites you, And so do we, and so do we, He wants everyone to join and he wants you to want to, And so do we, and so do we, The 'Kruschen' feeling that you must get, Hurrah! Hurrah!

Never mind if it's fine or wet, Oompah! Oompah!

The word Kruschen mystified us at first, but apparently they were a type of health salts, which promoted 'regularity'. Another unusual feature about this song was that it used an extract from Funiculi, Funicula, which was credited on the music sheet. A sort of early example of 'sampling' perhaps? Harry Wilkinson was also very prominent in the musical circles of the town and was responsible along with his wife for organising the Felix Corbett Celebrity Concerts at the town hall. Patricia enjoyed her time working in the music shop herself as she was very interested in music and during quiet periods in the store she would sit at the piano and play some of the latest songs from the new sheet music. Customers also arranged to have their pianos tuned which was done by a gentleman known as Percy Wearmouth who was totally blind but found his own way to their homes to carry out the tuning, something that he was extremely accomplished at doing. …

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