From hospital panto to cycle speedway

Entertainment in Little Plumstead during the war was minimal.

Once a year the staff at the hospital would put on a pantomime in their concert hall, primarily for the patients, but afterwards the hall would be opened to the public for one or two nights. I think most people in the village attended which meant that the hall was absolutely full with people standing at the back. Dr Morris, who was in charge of the hospital, would always make an appearance. These were the days when there was no TV, very few people had cars, and the last bus from Norwich, except on a Saturday and maybe a Wednesday, was about 6.15 p.m. so any diversion was appreciated. As far as I can remember Ken Brister, husband of the school teacher, played a great part in producing the show, Frank Atkins, the hospital’s electrician, was called in to do the lighting and his wife, Sybil, was a member of the cast. Arthur Edrich – uncle of the England cricketer John Edrich – also used to take part as did his wife, Marjorie, while Lenny Layt used to be the pantomime dame.

The Mission Room (now a hair salon) was occasionally used for whist drives and always for Sunday School.

The other main meeting place was the Brick Kilns pub run by Philip and Maudie Colk.

The library was run from what is now Brick Kilns house by Mrs. Gunton and her daughter, and I was usually sent by my mother, Doris Hardesty, the local district nurse and midwife,  to return her books and to collect another recommendation. It was always a joy to search in the children’s department for one for myself.

For the older boys there was at one time the Little Plumstead cycle speedway track just further on from the Brick Kilns on the Salhouse Road. I remember watching the races at some time but am not sure how long the track lasted. Some of the cyclists would possibly be Jimmy London, Russell Lawson and Freddie Feeke. Anyone with a better memory of who rode there should contact me at my email address. 

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