Northern Society of Costume and Textiles
Christmas 1930's Special
St Peter's Parish Church, Saltaire









St. Peter’s Parish Church, Moorhead Lane, SALTAIRE, Shipley BD18 4JH



For this meeting the committee decided to do something different! We met at Saltaire (always a pleasure) for a "recital" of tunes and a talk about Ivor Novello, followed by Afternoon Tea.
The presenter was John Webb who declared Ivor Novello as his hero. We heard some recordings and John played some piano pieces to illustrate his talk. For some this was a trip down Memory Lane of music from their childhood, while for others it was a very informative presentation on someone who was known of from a later childhood period.
We heard how Novello wrote romantic shows that were operettas full of love that needed trained opera singers of quality. He declared he wanted "glamour with a capital G, chandeliers, grace and dignity."
He came from humble origins, the son of Hungarian emigrants, his Mother being a famous singing teacher, conductor and choir master. He was strikingly handsome became an actor in the silent movies and was one of the few who continued acting when sound was developed. He was able to combine three careers - acting, playwright and composer.
His shows had wide appeal and long runs in the 30's and 40's during a prolific time for many composers. The shows were various silly stories, full of glamorous nonsense but it was the music that mattered. At one point Drury Lane Theatre got into financial difficulty and Novello staged a lavish production with a cast of 120 and a full orchestra that turned it's fortunes round. It became known for his extravagant operatic comedy.
Many of his songs became popular classics, such as "Keep the Home Fires Burning". His last and greatest commercial success was in 1949 "Kings Rhapsody". He died two years later and his funeral service was broadcast live on the radio.
After this fascinating talk we enjoyed a delicious afternoon tea provided by Jeanette one of our previous caterers who now specializes in food and cakes with a vintage feel.  All this provided the catalyst for a jolly good gossip!
There was a video presentation running continuously of fashions from the period and many costumes of the 30's displayed around the room on costume dummies.
Lynn Beech