REDCAR – Golden Sands – Good Old Days – At the Sale of Beach Sites

Accreditation Cleveland Standard 27/01/1933

At The Sale of Beach Sites

   I have attended auction sales in various parts of the world, but it was not until Tuesday, at the auction of the Redcar beach sites, that I had the experience—-it even gave me a thrill because it was so unexpected—of hearing cheers given at the fall of the hammer. This is how it occurred. Mr. Stanley Walker (the auctioneer) had come to the last lot. “Now we come to the pierrot pitch,” said he, and there was a buzz of expectancy in the room, which all of us heard, and, if one may use the expression “felt.” One reason, perhaps, for excitement was the fact that in the room there were many who had earned – and who still are earning – their livelihood on the stage and on the pierrot pitch. There was a comedian who had appeared for one season on Redcar sands; there was the pianist of the old “Optimists of 1933,” and former years; there were beach concert promoters from Redcar, Saltburn, and other places; there were entertainers from afar, all interested in Redcar’s pierrot pitch. “What shall I say gentlemen?” asked the auctioneer, correcting himself for a moment later in deference to the many ladies present. No bid came for some moments. Then “£20” came from Mr. Billy Lambert, who had been pianist for the “Optomists”; “£30,” replied Mr. W. Scarrow; “£40,” Mr. Lambert put in, and went up to £75, when from another quarter came a new bidder Mrs Grapco, of Saltburn, “£80,” she said. Mr. Scarrow was nonplussed for a moment. They began bidding, and at £105 it was knocked down to him, when the scene I have mentioned occurred. “Good Old Billie.” someone shouted at the back of the room, and this was the signal for hand clapping which of course, in some criterion of popularity of the manager of the “Optomists” of 1933. May the “Optomists” of 1934 meet their merited reward/. By the way, I believe the pitch “went” for £5 last year.

Ice Cream and Photographs

   There was not the keen interest in the sale of the ice-cream sites, which give the purchaser the exclusive rights to sell ice-cream on the Redcar beach at six stalls; the Council also allowing two horses and carts on the beach for ice-cream selling. The bidding opened at £250 and rose to £300, at which there was a lull, and the auctioneer accepted £10 bids up to £330, when he accepted a £5 bid from Canillo Rea, who has sold ices on Redcar sands for many years, for £335, at which figure the sites were withdrawn, which meant that Mr. Rea will have the first option of negotiating privately for the sites. Last year he paid £370 for the privilege of selling from the six sites. One of the sites that drew spirited bidding was the photographer’s pitch. This has been charge of the Wilden family for many years. I have heard it stated that at one time it used to be sold for £5. This year it went for £70, after starting at £5. The bids rose by steps of £2.10s. each 26 being made in less than two minutes. Mr. Wilden was the successful bidder, his rival being a close relation.

Artistes of Long Ago

   Many artistes who reached the top of the ladder have given performances at Redcar. The famous Leslie Fuller who starred in the film, “Hawleys of High Street,” which was shown in Redcar last week, came with a concert party as did Elsie Carlisle, of Broadcasting fame, and Max Miller, who has been honoured by command to appear at a Royal performance. Others are Dick Francis. Doreen Season, of the Rolling Stones,” who appeared at the Queen’s Hotel, London, and Albert Chevalier, of “My Old Dutch” fame. One of the greatest events of the old days was the visit of Durham Militias, and of the Royal Garrison Artillery. They were regarded as the social events of the season. A curious feature of the old days was a bandstand which was portable. In those days of course Redcar and Coatham were not one. They were, indeed, keen rivals; consequently, there was good reason for the m of the stand, and as the visitor in those days soon learned, for one day the band performance would be in Coatham and another day in Redcar. Although the venue changed the bandstand remained the same! One of the sights of the olden days, which I had almost forgotten, was that of the bathing machines. An what joy the boys of the village got from them. What excitement they caused. And what joy was ours to see the bathing belles of those days with their moveabilty below-the knee skirts! And what curious constructions the bathing machines were with their advertisements on the sides. Happy days. I do believe in those days we had concert parties at the end of the Pier. Happy days

The Olden Times

   The sale of the pitches on the sands reminds a reader of the old days of Redcar. You would scarcely believe it, but there were no chairs on the sands previous to the incorporation of the borough. There was very little whatever in the way of entertainment. I remember we used to have a boxing booth. There was a strong man who could lift enormous weights in his teeth, a gentleman of Italian extraction. Once we had a shark on exhibition. This had been washed up on the foreshore. It advertised its presence so strongly that a discerning nose could find olfactory evidence of it, even at Middlesbrough. It really was a stunner! Then we had a whale on view – and all the town knew it, even at night, if their windows were open. There were horses on the sands for public hire, and donkeys of course. By the way, what happens to our donkey friends of the sands during the winter time? Sam Paul’s Pierriots had a pitch on the three cornered patch of land near the band-stand. Those were the days! Happy times! Dear old Sam Paul. May his shades rest in peace, and Weary Willie, his chief comedian, who sang Harry Lauder’s songs, and whose make-up was an art in itself-if burlesque in an art. How well he exploited patriotic favour during the Boer War. I remember how he used to time one of his best numbers with the arrival of a train at Redcar station. “Mt brother’s coming home on this train,” he would say. “I know he’s coming.” Then a soldier in khaki would be seen coming along Cleveland Street. “This is him; here he is. Come on Bill!” Then Weary Willie would jump off the platform, and the audience would be agog with excitement. Then there would be the cheers, and more cheers, on the two shaking hands and embracing. No visitor ever knew it was showmanship. Happy days! How many season did you run at Redcar? Willie. Then there was Bert Parrott another favourite, a light comedian who knew the short cuts to the ears of the ladies. Then there was another pierrot named Dinen I believe who joined Catlin’s at Scarborough, or formed his own party. Those were the days! How the auction of sites has set in my mind wandering.


dean May 29, 2010 Redcar