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  1. Foundation Sheffield was not historically a rugby league area but in 1984 Gary Hetherington, at that time in the later stages of his playing career, decided to start a new professional club in the city. Hetherington was both manager and player in the first season, building the team using experienced players from traditional areas. He also began signing up promising young players, one of whom was Mark Aston, later to be a critical part of the Eagles' survival as a club. The first games were played at the Owlerton Stadium, but after stadium safety became an issue the Eagles began their nomadic journey around South Yorkshire and Derbyshire, playing at several temporary venues including Hillsborough, Bramall Lane, Saltergate and Oakwell. Finally in 1991 the World Student Games was held in Sheffield and the newly built Don Valley Stadium became home for the club. Progress On the field the club progressed steadily, improving their league position until in 1988/89 they finished third in the league table and made it to the Premiership final at Old Trafford. In the final they outplayed Swinton, beating them by 43-18 and gaining promotion to the top flight of rugby league. They survived one season but were then relegated. This was a temporary decline as they immediately regained their place in the First Division, winning the second division title and Premiership. In 1992 they reached the Yorkshire Cup final, losing to Wakefield Trinity. Despite this, the Eagles became a fixture in the top flight over the next few seasons, with notable firsts including being part of the first game of the SuperLeague era (against the ill-fated Paris Saint Germain franchise in 1996) and being the first English team to beat an Australian team on English soil in the World Club Challenge in 1997. When a Rupert Murdoch-funded Super League competition was first proposed, part of the deal was that some traditional clubs would merge. Sheffield were to merge with Doncaster to form a South Yorkshire club that would compete in Super League. This, along with other proposed mergers, were strongly opposed by supporters and never materialised. Wembley 1998 May 2, 1998 is the greatest day in the history of the Sheffield Eagles. Having beaten Leigh, Egremont, Castleford and Salford the Eagles faced the mighty Wigan at Wembley Stadium in the final of the Challenge Cup. Wigan were overwhelming favourites with a side containing some of the best players of the modern era, including Andy Farrell, Jason Robinson and Henry Paul. Sheffield coach John Kear devised a game plan that was executed perfectly by the team on the day. Star of the show was scrum half Mark Aston, who won the Lance Todd Trophy as man of the match. The Eagles led from start to finish, running out 17-8 winners in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition. Dark days Just as the club seemed to be on the verge of its greatest period, following the win in the Cup Final, things began to go wrong. The expected increase in attendances didn't happen and the team didn't perform well, finishing close to the relegation zone only one year after the Wembley triumph. In late 1999 the club accepted an offer from the RFL to merge with the Huddersfield Giants, making a new team Huddersfield/Sheffield Giants, playing games in both Sheffield and Huddersfield. This team (known disparagingly within the rugby league community as Shuddersfield) lasted only one season before reverting to the Huddersfield name. The main reason for this was the lack of acceptance of the new venture by both sets of supporters, but in particular in Sheffield. Between the end of the Super League season and the start of the next semi-professional season (only 3 months) legendary player Mark Aston reformed the Eagles from scratch with the support of the Super League clubs and Barrow and entered the Northern Ford Premiership taking Bramley's vacated place. Rebirth From 1999 to the present the Eagles have played in the semi-professional leagues, first the Northern Ford Premiership and then the second division of the LHF Healthplan National League. Mark Aston assumed the role of player manager, continuing on the field until 2004, when he officially retired from playing. After the 2004 season Mark replaced his father Brian as Chief Executive, bringing in a new head coach in Gary Wilkinson at the end of the following year. As soon as the new club was reformed, it vowed to never overstretch its finances to achieve success. This made life difficult as the Eagles were denied the money received by other clubs in the NFP for TV rights as part of the deal that allowed them to re-enter the professional leagues. In 2003 the team finished top of National League Two and reached the Grand Final, agonisingly losing 13-11 to the Keighley Cougars. Victory would have sent the Eagles into National League One, but this was not to be and a second play-off against the Batley Bulldogs ended in failure for the demoralised squad. Until 2006 the team struggled to match this effort, with key players retiring or being signed by bigger clubs - young players Mitchell Stringer and Andy Raleigh went on to sign for Super League clubs. At the start of the 2006 season Gary Wilkinson was brought in as coach and the team finished in second place, qualifying for the play-offs for the right to join champions Dewsbury Rams in National League One. On September 22nd 2006 they beat the Celtic Crusaders at the Don Valley Stadium to qualify for the Grand Final for a second time. In the Grand Final on October 8th they beat Swinton Lions 35-10 to be promoted to National League One. To the surprise of many Wilkinson resigned as head coach on October 15th 2006, citing personal reasons. National League One is a springboard to a potential return to Super League, although this may also be dependent on the RFL's adoption of a franchising or licensing system. As Sheffield Eagles' chairman Ian Swire, remarked, after the 2006 Grand Final victory, "We showed on Sunday that we can compete, and that in the near- to not-too-distant future we will get back into Super League".
  2. The Cemetery Riots At Sheffield - 1862 The Sheffield Magistrates were engaged for several hours on Saturday in investigating the extraordinary proceedings at Wardsend Cemetery, near that town. It will be remembered that on Tuesday night a large crowd of people, exasperated beyond all control by the horrible disclosures that had been made of the manner in which human remains were desecrated, broke into the sextons house and set it on fire, Mrs Howard narrowly escaping with her life. Damage to the extent of £500 was done at the house and at the cemetery. The mob searched for the sexton, but could not find him, fortunately for him. As the news of the discoveries spread through the town the parents and relatives of many of the persons buried in the ground proceeded to the place, and numbers of them began excavating the graves in order to satisfy themselves that the remains had not been tampered with. In several cases no trace of the coffins could be found, and this, of course, greatly increased the excitement. The most revolting discovery of all, however, was made in an unused part of the cemetery grounds, where was found a large hole, roughly covered with earth and planks, and containing about twenty coffins, and a box in which were the remains of a man who had been dissected at the Sheffield Medical School. It was found that underneath the coffins was a mass of human remains several feet in thickness, which were alleged to have been accumulated by the throwing of dissected bodies into the hole without coffins, and the emptying of bodies from coffins removed from graves in the cemetery. A number of coffins, and twenty four coffin plates, removed from coffins which had been placed in the ground within the last three years, were found in the stable. The examinations of the place which were made in the course of the week disclosed such a state of things, that the Bench were loudly called upon to interfere to punish the offenders and secure the future protection of the public. Mr. Jackson, chief constable, said he had to apply to the magistrates to aid him in the investigation of the circumstances which had notoriously occurred at Wardsend burial ground and at the sexton's house, he stated that on going to the cemetery he found in the side of the hill a large hole. It had the appearance of having been arched, but there were boards driven in at the side to support it. The hole had been covered with planks and earth, but this the people had removed. He saw a square box containing what evidently were the remains of a man, as also a number of coffins, twenty inches broad and fifteen or eighteen inches deep. By the directions of one of the magistrates he had the square box removed to the cemetery stable. Having got another box made sufficiently large to hold the one taken from the hole, he had it and the body put into this new box and brought to the police office here. It was a deal box, about three feet six inches long, twenty inches broad, and fifteen or eighteen inches deep. The box did not appear to have been buried. The body had evidently been dissected, the flesh having been removed from the bones. Evidence was given to show that the body found in the box had been received from the Medical School in the ordinary way, and that an interment certificate had been given by the incumbent, although the remains had not been interred. Mrs. Harriet Shearman was sworn, and said,--I am the wife of William Shearman, miller, Philadelphia Mill-Yard. My little boy, Edward Charles, died about eight months ago ; he was then two years and one month old. He was interred at the St. Philip's ground on the twenty third of September last. The grave was made on the left hand side over the hill, on the lower side from the railway. I paid ten shillings for the fees of burial to the sexton, Isaac Howard. I only saw a little bit of earth put on the coffin at the time. He told me I could have a family grave by paying a further sum of twenty two shillings within the year. In consequence of what I heard I went up to the ground on Wednesday, a little after noon. I went to a large pit there was in the cemetery, and saw some coffins there. Some of them had the lids off, and in one of these I recognised the features of my own child. I got it taken out of the pit with the coffin, and caused it to be taken to my own house. When I got it home I examined the coffin, and found it was the same wood. I found the piece of "bump" sheet which I had placed beneath the head of the child. I am quite sure from the features, and from this sheet, that it was my child. When I left the grave at the funeral the sexton was there. He had the care of the grave at that time. We have another child there, or it should be there. The hole where the body was found is about two hundred yards from the grave where we left my child. I looked into the grave, but cannot recollect whether the soil was firm or soft, as it had been previously dug. There were funerals going on in the ground at the same time. I don't know who performed the service. My first child was interred in the ground three years ago. This child was not buried in the same grave, because we had not bought the ground. We have not looked for the coffin of the first child. Mr. Jackson.--I have other women who have similar cases to this, but they are not here today. Robert Dixon.--I am a labourer in the service of Mr. Oxspring, of Wardsend. I know Isaac Howard, the sexton of this cemetery. I agreed with him to go and live in his house in the graveyard. I cannot tell exactly the day of the month, but it was some time in March last. Shortly after I had gone there I observed a curious smell in the room above the stable. I thrust some knots out of the deal boards, and looked down into the stable. We had then been there two or three weeks. I saw about twenty coffins- some of persons about fifteen and sixteen and ten years old--others were those of stillborn children. None of them appeared to be the coffins of grown up persons. I had seen Howard lock and unlock this door, and knew he had the key. The coffins were not covered over with anything, and were lying on the ground, piled in heaps on the top of each other. I saw some broken up coffins piled in a corner by themselves--the wood appeared to be new. Those pieces are there now. The day I flitted ( last Monday ) I and several other men saw in the stone shed near the house four or five sides and lids of coffins. they were in a dark corner of the shed. Did you ever really see a body, or only coffins in the shed? I lifted up the lid of one coffin, in the shed, about six weeks ago. The night following the body had been removed from the coffin, but the coffin remained in the shed. I lifted the lid with my toe, and saw the face of the body. It looked very fresh, as though it had been buried a week or two. It looked like the face of a boy about fifteen years of age. I looked at the coffin the same night, after Howard had set off to Sheffield. Had seen him go. He put two corpses into a box. One appeared to be ten, and the other fifteen, I saw the same coffin empty in the shed the same night. I afterwards went and looked through the holes in the floor. Tell the magistrates what you think you saw him doing.-- I came home earlier than usual. I thought he looked very ***** and "sheepish" in my eye. I had had suspicion of him before. I saw him go in and out of the house and go up the burial ground. I went upstairs and looked through the holes in the floor, and waited till he came back into the stable. He appeared to be cutting off the leg of a child about ten years old. The child lay on two planks, and he had a carving knife in his hand. I saw him put the bodies into a box. He put the lid on and went outside the door, and came in again immediately. He put the box on a barrow, and went to the river side. I saw him put two bodies into the box. The stable is not so large as the room overhead, in which I was. The holes were large enough to admit my finger. There is a small slide window in the top of the stable, with only four or five panes in it. I once found the stable door unlocked, about three weeks ago, and saw about twenty coffins and twenty four coffin plates. I took the plates away and gave them to Mr. Oxspring. They are the same he has given to the chief constable. I had previously told Mr. Oxspring, and was acting under his advice in what I did. The sexton asked me to take the house. We have had a quarrel, but were good friends before I left the house. I met him on the burying ground. I asked him if I could cultivate a bit of ground, and he consented on condition that the ground should be given up if there were any Catholic funerals. He spoke very angrily to my wife about the place, and I wished to see him, and told him he had better take those bodies out of the coach house before he said anything to my wife. We parted good friends. I have once been in trouble for stealing some corn, four years ago, at Ellerby Hall. That is the only thing I have ever been in to my knowledge. I had married just before. Mr. Jackson.--He was tried and sentenced to six months imprisonment. Witness.--Mr. Oxspring and Howard have been good friends. I don't know anything about an action for impounding cattle. I told Mr. Oxspring about six weeks ago what was going on, and he advised me to go into the stable if I had an opportunity. Bethia Dixon wife of the last witness---We went to live at the house in the graveyard on twenty-fourth of March. When we first went I noticed a peculiar smell in the room over the stable, and it got worse. I spoke to the sexton about the smell, and he said he would remove it--it would go away. The smell made me ill, and I had a miscarriage in consequence. I have seen the porter from the Medical School go up the burial ground. He came more than once. I first saw him there on the Thursday in the second week we went to live there, which would have been on the third of April. I told the sexton that the man had been to see him, and the man came again on the Friday morning, but he did not see the sexton. I told the sexton again, and he said he had seen him, but he (the porter) had no money for him, and until he got some money he (Howard) should not let anything else go. I have seen a man named "John" who assisted Howard, remove coffins from graves, and put them in the open shed. The sexton afterwards put them in the stable. The men opened the graves and removed the coffins from them. These graves were not distinguished by mounds of earth. Judging from the size of the coffins which "John" and Howard removed, I should say that they were those of children about ten or twelve. About a fortnight ago I saw Howard remove some coffins from the stable into a large pit. He took some in the day time, and towards evening he got the assistance of another man. I saw a man named Coldwell helping him. Before I was married I lived four years in service in Mr. Warhurst's of Ecclesall Road. I never saw any other person at the pit than Howard and the two men assisting him. I never saw any funerals performed at that pit. There was one small place open, so as they could slide a coffin into it, but it could be made larger. The pit was covered with planks, and a thin layer of earth. There were planks placed against the hole when they were not using it. I remember the holes being made in the floor of the room over the stable. I looked down and saw coffins there. I have looked on several occasions when my husband has been away. Mr. J. Barber, surgeon, was examined, and stated the manner in which bodies were obtained for the purposes of dissection at the Medical School from the workhouse. No bodies were obtained except by legitimate way. The inquiry was then adjourned until Friday next
  3. 60's for me....long afternoons and evenings in the Summer holidays chilling in Hillsborough Park....... Penguin Cafe across from park Cinema at night when I was 16/17.....Squirrel on Middlewood road and Mussoms ( the arab owned cafe on Holme Lane)...where all the bikers hung out
  4. THE BALL INN LOCATION Ball Street/Green Lane INFORMATION Used for many years as a paint store-cum-decorators suppliers PICTURES
  5. There is one, yes. You follow Livesey Street round the back of the stadium, until you get to the scrapyard (and the lane goes off to the right towards the Farfield Inn, but you don't follow it round there). There is a footpath up the hill right in front of you, follow that and the graveyard is just up there - I remember going there as a kid and getting freaked out by it!! It is hidden by trees on Google Earth/Flash Earth, so follow it round to get to: Latitude: 53, 24, 31.1 N Longitude: 1, 29, 22.6 W (ish)
  6. A few more for your list. Taking trains from Victoria Station and the steps that went from the Wicker up to the platforms. SUT tours in Pond Street where we always got the coaches to away games. A number of Department Stores, Cockaynes, Walshes,Robert Brothers and Pauldens(which became Debanhams) The Sidewalk Cafe on Chapel Walk. The Centre Spot Cafe on Snig Hill Longley Park Swimming Baths The Kop at Hillsborugh without a roof. Watching Yorkshire play Cricket at Bramall Lane. Buse on the Moor and Fargate. The original Trams. Sexy Rexy The original Mullberry Tavern. The Old Blue Bell The Haufbrauhauss. The Wapentake More to follow as I remember them.
  7. The flood was way before the picture. The river does run stronger nowadays in the absence of the Niagara Dam and weir -but the road was pretty much raised for the building of the bridge, and connecting Middlewood road to it. If you go there now, you'd see how raised Middlewood Road/Catchbar Lane was raised in relation to Leppings lane by looking from the bridge towards the old Cinema/bingo hall - that was built on the level of those roads and Leppings lane was below it. Also, If you look at the river nowadays too, to prevent flooding, everything around it was built to a safe level above, so effectively the area was built up.
  8. Imagine you're stood where the Gas shop is now, on the corner - looking down Leppings Lane. The bridge will be now where the river is.
  9. Prominent in the area are the Burgon and Ball buildings, which run quite a distance along Holme Lane, to the River Loxley. This picture shows the edge of the huge Burgon and Ball building by the river:
  10. A host for many cup Semi-Finals, Hillsborough was the venue for the 1977 match between Manchester United and Leeds United. This picture shows a spot of bother between the two at the Leppings Lane end, where mounted police begin to move in. Notice Quinns old shop being the last of the terrace.
  11. WOW ! Fantastic pictures -especially the one of Holme Lane which looks sooooo different now !!
  12. A couple more Sheffield Tram pictures: This tram, destined for Nether Green, is on the route frequented by Steve in his post above - this one is passing by Hillsborough Park. Heading down 'Barrack Hill' (Langsett Road), this tram has just passed Hillsborough Barracks and is heading fowards Hillsborough Corner. A picture viewing along Holme Lane (From Hillsborough Corner, towards Malin Bridge), a number of houses on the right of this scene have been demolished, but you can make out the Tram Sheds (disused and abandoned during the time of this picture) about in the centre of the picture.
  13. PETER HARRAP When asked his age, Peter replied somewhat uncertainly, 'Ooh, er, 20'. The son of a mining training officer, Peter studied at Sheffield University and was doing quite well until a Currah Microspeech unit decided to destroy his Spectrum and thus plunged him into a life of games designing. Like so many other young programmers, Pete started with 'a little ZX81' and then skipped a big ZX81 by selling some camera equipment to buy a Spectrum. He taught himself machine code programming on the 81 and 'basically transferred that to the Spectrum'. Until meeting Ian Stewart and Kevin Norburn in Just Micro, Pete used to do some hacking and design programs to alter existing games. His city redesigner for Ant Attack was sent back because Quicksilva told him they were already developing something themselves; although this never appeared, Zombie Zombie did allow the player to rebuild and change the city. Peter Harrap hit the headlines (literally) with his first game, the CRASH Readers Award winner, Wanted: Monty Mole. A wicked sense of humour was apparent in the game, and it is this angle that is most noticeable in the follow up. Apart from programming entire games, Pete is responsible for many of the Spectrum graphics in other Gremlin games, he has designed the main character in Beaver Bob, for instance. This led to some ribald comments on Bob's suggestive style of walking - the irrepressible Harrap humour sometimes verges on the - well, naughty. Monty on the Run is the true successor to Wanted: Monty Mole. Like its forerunner, it is a platform game with many and varied elements. Perhaps the most significant is the fact that Monty can now somersault rather than just jump. When asked whether the Commodore game Impossible Mission might have been a (forgive the pun) springboard, Pete just smiled. The story, as we know, so far: Monty Mole, suffering from a shortage of coal owing to the miners' strike, enters a mine to steal some. After many misadventures he meets Arthur Scargill and is sent to prison for theft. His friend, Sam Stoat, has a go at rescuing him, but fails in the attempt, so Monty is left to complete his sentence. With time on his hands he takes to the prison gymnasium and becomes super fit, learning to somersault in the process. He gets out of gaol and tries to flee to Brazil. This is where the action of Monty on the Run takes place, as he boards a ship and tries to escape to France. Money is of the essence, and fortunately there are gold sovereigns to be collected, but in order for the ship to sail, Monty has to perform several tasks, all of which require the right tool for the job. On top of that there are hosts of malcontents trying to stop him. The 'orrible 'arrap has programmed in numerous devious traps, some of which are so mind-bogglingly cruel it's mind-boggling. There are lifts with nasty habits, teleport beams which are only safe if they are a certain colour and some of which can deposit you in a lethal situation. Objects to be collected are placed in almost impossible positions, and often, after hours of trying to reach them, they turn out to be useless or, worse still, positively dangerous. This is not a game for the squeamish! Peter, who is quietly spoken, tends to a calmness that is belied by the mischievious delight he takes in setting the hapless player up for a pratfall. But I've no doubt that thousands will be queueing up for a custard pie in the face by October when Monty on the Run is released.
  14. More info on Broughton Lane: Opposite the new Sheffield Arena, the sports and concert venue in Broughton Lane, there stands a public house with the name, ' The Noose and Gibbet ' Outside the pub there is a replica gibbet containing an effigy of the highwayman Spence Broughton,after whom the road was named. Broughton was a gentleman farmer from Lincoln who married well and was in receipt of a large dowry which he squandered through gambling at cock fights. To recoup his loss he turned to crime becoming a member of the Hatters Club, a local band of Attercliffe villains. His life of crime was not to last for long, he was hung in 1790 for the robbery of the Sheffield Mail on Attercliffe Common. He was hung and gibbeted in chains close to the site of the present day pub, his remains were left for 27 years as a deterrent to other would-be thieves. He was the last man to be treated this way in England. Today the pub contains several depictions of Spence Broughton and the Hatters Club, and allegedly the highwayman's hand !
  15. The pop man used to come round when I was in my teens....from Goddards which was down on Park View Road. Also gone but never forgotten from the late 50's and 60's were: Rag and Bone men with their horse drawn and also hand pulled carts The Knife Sharpener The Gas Man who would turn off and on the gas lamps up and down Clarence Road with a long pole with a T bar on it Gypsies going door to door selling pegs, pins and "lucky" heather The Coal Man ( Charllie Hollingsworth) The Calor Gas man Window cleaners with their ladders on long barrows Cobbled streets..........sigh ;)
  16. Used to catch the tram from the bottom of Dykes Hall Road to top of Leppings Lane for about one old penny ( or was it a halfpenny) when I used to go and visit my grandparents.... There used to be Trolley Buses in Sheffield as well
  17. Right next to where The Flower Bowl used to be before it moved across the Road. Walk down from the Freemasons and over the bridge....it was bang on your right where the road meets Holme Lane
  18. There also used to be one at the bottom of Walkeley Lane..........been in it a couple of times in the mid 60's...............they aren't really as big inside as the TARDIS though
  19. Summer 1957 at The Grand Old favourites Albert & Les Ward are at the Empire, went to see them, but sadly, now find their act very dated. Near the Empire, there's a coffee bar called the El Mambo, we love going in there, drinking Espresso coffee and watching to see who is going to come in, it's a great meeting place for young people, and there's a small juke box which is kept very busy playing the hits of the day. 'When' by the Kalin Twins is my favourite, and I show off that I know all the words!! Frankie Lane is here, he's not at all 'starry', he's really friendly, he gave me his autograph and said to me "You're awfully pretty, you know" - what - me???? Crikey! Mr Asua, who has been staying here all week, is leaving today. He came in the lift and gave me a box of chocolates and 2/6 (12½p) tip saying in his lovely foreign accent - "Forr you, Frridda". Sometimes, I get as much as 10/- (50p) a week in tips, which helps to boost my pathetic little wage. Went to see The Dallas Boys and Les Hobeaux, at the Empire - great show, The Dallas boys are terrific! Went round to the stage door to get their autographs, they were good fun and very friendly. Max Wall here next week, we are booking a box, as we all think he is so funny. Freddie and the Bellboys are staying at the Grand, going round the corner too fast and ran right into the arms of one of them. Grrrr - wouldn't mind doing that again! I am off on Friday so went in the hotel to collect my wages. The timekeeper wasn't going to let me in as it was my day off, he said I had no right to come in the hotel unless I was working, Mac was passing by, worse luck, and joined in. I feel my anger boiling up, as I thought I wasn't going to be able to get my wages. Somehow, I manage to hold on to my tongue, I know if I stand up for myself, Mac will report me and I shall get the sack. Luckily, Dennis is passing by and seeing how upset I am, asks what's wrong, when I tell him, he takes me to the wages room himself, telling my adversaries that I am allowed in the hotel to pick up my wages. I find wages day so humiliating somehow. We have to wait outside in the corridor, and not go in until our names are called. The assistant manager, who I dislike almost as much as Mr Rendall, sits at a trestle table which has separate piles of money on it, the secretary calls out my name and how much I'm to be paid, the assistant manager barely manages to spare a me a look, he counts out the money. If I am lucky, he may give me 2 pound notes, three shillings and seven coppers, or perhaps 4 ten shilling notes, which makes my wages look much better! If I'm not, I will get a handful of various coins - half crowns, two shilling pieces and a lot of pennies, which, hopefully, will add up to the right amount, if it doesn't - tough! (Wage packets are apparently, unheard of at the Grand - at least for the likes of me, and my wage slip is just a tiny scrap of paper with faint, unidentifiable hieroglyphics on it). I give all my wages to Mum, who gives me back a £1 for spending money and 7/6 (42½p) for my bus fare - which doesn't leave much of a contribution towards my keep. Mum encourages me to save, and I save a ¼ of my £1, putting the 5/- in a Post Office savings account. Babs earns about £3.5s.0d, she gives Mum 25/- a week for her board. Mum would like to be in charge of Barbara's wages too, but Barbara wants to be in control of her own money. Quite right, too. I walk down town afterwards, looking at things I know I cannot afford to buy, but I treat myself to my regular 'read', Picturegoer and Weekend. I love reading about filmstars and their lives. For Christmas, I always get a Film Star Annual, and I will read it over and over again. (And I still read these very same annuals, over and over again...) Trench coats are all the fashion. Lorna and me are saving up like mad, to buy one, they are 5 guineas, but we cannot decide which colour to get - Royal Blue, Red or Beige, but we agree that we are both going to buy shiny, black patent shoes with high heels, well, high-ish, anyway, which will cost 34/11. It will take a lot of saving out of our poor little wages. In the meantime, our noses will be pushed up against the window, trying to decide on the colour we are eventually going to get -hopefully before they have gone out of fashion...I went to sleep that night, my mind full of my imminent purchase and dreamt I was on stage dancing in my high heels and trench coat, which I finally fling off to reveal a sexy, figure hugging outfit complete with black fishnet stockings! (tights haven't yet been invented!) In the event, and unknown to one another, we both decided on the royal blue, and rather enjoyed going out together - looking like twins -in our new outfits! 1957I often lament the fact that I am only sixteen, gauche and nothing special to look at, especially in this ghastly uniform, as so many nice young men come in the hotel, either to stay or just to have a drink in the bar. There are three nice young men staying in the hotel at the moment, they are here on a three day training scheme. They are very friendly; I like Les in particular, so I'm, surprised, but delighted when he suggests that we should go out on a date, and to bring two friends for his two friends. But he is 22 years old; I ask Mum if I can go, but she says no, he is too old for me. Never mind, there is someone else in the hotel who is taking my attention. He is absolutely gorgeous. He has lovely black hair and dresses very smartly. He's staying in a room on the first floor, so he doesn't use the lift, unfortunately. I watch him constantly, as he moves around the hotel, Barbara, the head telephonist, came round the corner and bumped right into him, lucky thing! Sadly he is leaving, the porters bring his luggage down in the lift and I note the name on the luggage label as being T. B.Cullinan. Two days later he is back and the porter informs me that he is a Lord! Things are beginning to click into place, the address on the luggage label was Transvaal, South Africa - and I remember learning about the Cullinan diamond at school. He seems to have everything - good looks, a title and riches beyond belief, I mentally shrink into my dull brown uniform - the gulf between the have and have-nots just got bigger... Much as I like looking at him, I try to merge into my surrounding whenever he's around, I cannot bear him to look at me in my shabby uniform. I like to keep this small corner of my world looking **** and span, and love polishing the brass parts of the lift. A brass rail runs along three sides of the lift, about hip level, which is either to lean against - or hold on to! There's a brass frame on one wall, which holds the poster showing who is appearing at the Empire that week. (why oh why didn't I think to save them???) Beside the lift, a glass mosaic wall curves round into the ballroom. I breathe on the glass and give it a good polish, my intention is to work my way round to the ballroom, if I look industrious enough, I might be able to move round far enough to sneak a look in. I am aware of someone behind me, I turn to see Lord Cullinan smiling at me, one brow raised in amusement. I feel my cheeks blushing scarlet; did he think I was looking at myself?? His eyes wander over me, slowly and very purposefully he looks me up and down but doesn't say a word; he then turns and walks towards the bar, but turns to look at me again, before disappearing inside. I want to curl up and die. Has he been aware of my eyes following him around all the time, and came to give me a taste of my own medicine? I flee into the safety of my lift, feeling miserable and inadequate, hating being no more than a little lift girl in a shabby brown uniform. The lowliness of my position here, at odds with my own sense of value. Later, I have to go on the switchboard for a while, Lord Cullinan rings down from room 103, we have to make all the phone calls for the guests, (no direct dialling for some years yet) I get him a number in Fulham, London, I would love him to know that it's me he's talking to, to let him know that I am capable of more than just operating a lift, but of course I cannot say anything. Mr Spitzer gave me tickets to see Ronnie Hilton at the Empire, but didn't go, he was very cross with me, but there is a fair in the village, and I wanted to go with my friends, everyone goes. It is the place to meet, and hope someone will invite you to go on the walzer with them. We have got to know three boys who are cousins, they are all quite handsome, but we will only ever be just friends, none of them see me any other way. (Which can be quite a blow to ones esteem at that age). June 1957 was very hot and dry. July starts with thunder and lightening - which both fascinate and terrify me! I stand at my bedroom window, watching bright flashes of lightening zig-zagging across a navy blue sky, heralding the terrifying crashes of thunder, finally, the heavens open and the rain comes bucketing down - rain that we badly need. Phew - now it's cool enough to sleep! 'Disc Doubles' was on at the Empire last week, people who look like pop stars mime to records - almost as good as the real thing! This week Ray Ellington (actor, singer, comedian, musician - a very talented fellow, who was also known as 'the fifth Goon') is here and he is lovely - so full of fun. His very presence livens up the whole of the hotel. He clasps me to his broad chest every time he comes in the lift! He's an outrageous tease, but makes me feel very happy. Before he leaves he gives me two addresses in London, where I can write to him, if I want to. (I remember those hugs very clearly, great big bear hugs - great stuff!) I note in my diary that he drives a black & white zephyr Reg. ELL 777). July 22nd 1957 - I would have thought that Ray Ellington would have been a hard act to follow, but a visit by The Harlem Globe Trotters and The American Allstars is something I will never forget! They were appearing at the Sheffield Wednesday football ground for one night only. They all came in, in a great big rush of American gianthood, piling into the lift, which was only supposed to take a maximum of 9 ordinary sized people, half a dozen giants was just too much for my poor little lift, it did not get off the ground, in fact it immediately sank. There's about 3 spare feet in the lift shaft below floor level, and we took up all of it! There was no way the lift gates could be opened, the lift engineer had to be sent for, in the meantime it was the most hilarious 15 or 20 minutes I've ever spent. What with the other players pulling faces at us through the gates and telling the trapped players that their time was up and they should now swap places! They needn't have worried; it was to happen several times again, before they finally left the next day. I was invited several times over, to watch the game that night, in the end, I decided to be tactful and accept the invitation of the Manager, Gene Moyers. I took my friend Barbara, and we had a fantastic time. During the interval, the entertainment was just amazing - the trampolinists, the jugglers, the cheerleaders. Benny Shirtzinger, twirling his batons, was a real showstopper. I had promised to go round to their dressing rooms afterwards, but it seemed an impossible task - the entrance blocked by hundreds of fans. The boys came out to sign autographs, by this time we were being well and truly crushed by the surging crowd. I saw Ronnie Kim and yelled his name, my small arm flailing about in an attempt to get his attention, catching a glimpse of our frightened faces in the teeming crowd, the boys pushed their way through, lifting us effortlessly over the heads of the crowd and depositing us in the entrance to the dressing rooms, where we stayed until the crowd had dispersed. They wanted us to go back to the hotel with them in their coach, but whilst Barbara could have gone, not only was I not allowed in the hotel when not on duty, but even being seen socially with a guest was a sackable offence. Instead, we hitched a ride in the team's coach and were delivered safe and sound onto our own doorsteps. I would see them again tomorrow when sadly, we would have to say goodbye. I had taken quite a shine to Benny, the baton twirler. He was a very good-looking young man of 27, and he was happy to have my fan worship, he invited me to his room to collect an autographed photograph. When I went, he only had a pair of shorts on, perhaps I backed out of his bedroom a little too hastily, I apologized and said I'd come back later. The next time he came in the lift, he had the signed photograph for me, and signalled for me to put a chaste kiss on his cheek. He looked at me in a way that gave me the uncomfortable feeling that he found me curiously naive. Their departure was as crazy as their arrival - the front hall just a mass of luggage and belongings. And all these incredibly big guys coming and going, calling to each other good naturedly - such noisy informality would have given Mr Rendell apoplexy! With their departure, it suddenly went very quiet - The sedateness of the Grand Hotel had been restored.
  20. SHEFFIELD GIRL After I started work at The Grand Hotel in the centre of Sheffield, I began to write in my tiny, handbag size, 'Film Star' diary, all the daily happenings. I was meeting 'Stars' almost every day, and I felt it all had to be carefully documented. I also kept my autograph book close to hand! I was able to meet many stars on a one to one basis, thanks to the manager of the Sheffield Empire, Johnny Spitzer, who lived at 'The Grand'. He was very kind to me, not only giving me two free tickets, in the best seats, almost every week, but also making sure that I met the performers that I really liked. Whilst my old school friends were now forming steady relationships and looking in jeweller's windows in anticipation, for me, marriage was always in the distant future. Despite having strong feelings, from time to time, for certain boyfriends, it was never with the intention of 'settling down'. For me, I felt there was so much more to life than getting married, so many people to meet and places to discover - and I managed to hold on to my single status until I was 27! Despite the rather hectic and most enjoyable social life I had in Sheffield, I longed for something more. Jenny, my pen friend in London, encouraged me to spread my wings, and when I eventually left Sheffield behind, I was full of excited trepidation for the wonders that I truly believed existed in London. And it was exciting. (Quite terrifyingly so, on occasion). I was there when the 'Profumo Scandal' made all the front pages; in fact it was happening so closely around me that I was even mistaken for Mandy Rice-Davies! Meeting well known people from stage screen and television was a daily happening, and I was thrilled to become friends with my favourite pop star - Gene Pitney! I remember clearly the deaths of Marilyn Monroe and Jack Kennedy; coming face to face with two of the Beatles on Oxford Street; appearances on TV and having a very famous neighbour! I was almost 20 years old, it was the birth of 'The Swinging Sixties' and London was most certainly the best place to be - I became a teenager all over again! I really loved living in London, even imagining, eventually, that I was a London Girl; after living there for eight years I thought I'd shaken off my Yorkshire roots - I'd certainly had some rough corners knocked off me! But of course, you never, ever, completely lose your true foundation. And although I have now been away from Sheffield, for far longer than I ever lived there, I will always think of myself as a Sheffield Girl. Life at the Grand October 1st 1956 - I'm excited, but a little uneasy about my first day working at the Grand Hotel. I will have to work in shifts - one-week 7.0am till 2.0pm and one week 2.0pm till 10.0pm, and on the switchboard every other weekend. For this, I get paid £2.3s.7d per week. It's quite a long journey from my home in Ecclesfield. I take a 20 minute bus journey, passing the Sheffield Wednesday football ground at Owlerton, along Penistone Road and West Bar, into Bridge Street bus station in Sheffield City centre, then I walk up Snigg Hill to Fargate, stopping to look in the window of Kemsley House, where the Telegraph and Star are situated - I love to see who's photograph might be on display there, (it might even be Mavis's!) and then on towards Leopold Street, pausing to look in the window of Wilson Peck (musical instruments) they are the 'posh' version of Cann's, the music shop in Dixon Lane. (After all these years, Wilson Peck finally closed down in 2001). At the GrandAnd so on to The Grand Hotel, in all, it takes upwards of 15 minutes, depending on how long I spend shop window gazing. The staff entrance is in Orchard Street; one goes down into the bowels of the hotel, where we have to 'clock on'. Cards with our name on, are kept in a wooden rack, with 'OUT' emblazoned across the top, on one side of the clock. We take out our card push it into a slot under the clock, which then stamps it, extremely noisily, with the time of entry. It's then placed in a rack emblazoned with 'IN', on the other side of the clock. When we leave, the whole process is reversed. Heaven help those who forget to perform this daily, and sometimes twice daily (when on 'split' shifts) ritual! I have to be fitted for a uniform as I am going to be working on the lift, running errands, and I might even get a look at the switchboard. I have to start the day by polishing the huge mahogany table that takes up most of the vastness of the front hall. There are two enormous ashtrays on this table, which I have to keep an eye on and be constantly emptying and polishing. The main entrance, in Barker's Pool, has two huge plate glass doors; the long reception desk is situated opposite, with the porter's desk just inside the doorway to the left, and the restaurant off to the right. Past the Porter's desk and two steps down into the main part of the hall, the switchroom, on the right, is little more than a walk-in cupboard. The switchboard is big enough and often busy enough, for two people to work it, it is a 'dolls eye' switchboard, which means that 'lids' with a number to represent the number of the room, drops down when a phone is picked up. Many guests (and the hotel manager!) think they have to flash the cradle up and down to get our attention, this makes the 'eyelid' open and close very rapidly - making a very annoying noise, can you imagine what it would be like if everyone did that!! It's bad enough when two or three do it at once, all they need to do is pick up the phone and wait for a moment, but no, everyone seems to think that they are the only person wanting to make a phone call! (Roll on subscriber trunk dialling!!) Beside the switchroom stands a tall glass cabinet, full of paperbacks for the guests to purchase. At weekends, when I am on the switchboard and it isn't very busy, Dennis, the nicest of the porters, will let me choose a book to read, so long as I promise to return it in good condition and not turn back the corners of the pages. A walk across the front hall towards the ballroom will bring you to the barber's shop on the left, right next to that, pushed up into a corner is my little world - the lift! Across the hall I can see into the bar which is situated between the stairs that lead up to the Manager's office, the staff dining room and the guests rooms, and the way through to the other lounge. There's also a 'secret' door that leads to the back stairs and the 'luggage' lift, which every now and again, when my lift is out of order, I have to go on. I'm appalled that the guests also have to use this horrible lift on these occasions too - or walk up several flights of stairs to get to their floor. The front hall is also the main lounge; there are lots of easy chairs arranged in straight rows. There's another lounge by the revolving doors, which is the back entrance, but is on the main street - it all seems back to front, to me! Even in 1956, the Grand is considered to be rather old fashioned. Is it really necessary to have a lift operator? I can only assume that it is cheaper than altering the lift's mechanism to automatic. My uniform is awful, a muddy brown colour with faded gold cord trim, it's too short, too tight, shabby and showing all too clearly that it has been worn by many others before me. I'm told we will be getting new uniforms soon, but it seems they've been saying that for years. Anyway, I don't want one; the sooner I get out of this one the better. Little do I know that for as long as I am at the Grand, the only time I am out of uniform is when I am working on the switch board at weekends and when the regular telephonists are on holiday, then I get to wear black (whoopee!). After I have learned how to use the switchboard, I shall take over whilst Barbara, the head telephonist, is having a break. The telephonists have their break in the staff dining room, on the mezzanine floor, whereas the hoi-polloi, such as myself, have to go down into the bowels of the hotel, and find our way through long, dimly-lit corridors, where I can hear the scurry of small brown creatures, to a room that seems to be somewhat Dickensian. The food is absolutely disgusting, a horrible looking mince, full of nasty looking bits, that I do not consider fit for human consumption. I constantly make do with bread and jam, which comes in large containers and when it hasn't fermented, is full of steam flies. There are steam flies everywhere. We keep our clothes in a locker in the locker room, where I have learned to make a lot of noise before opening the door and switching on the light, in an attempt to disperse the mice into their dark little corners, before I go in. Any clothes that have been hanging in my locker are given a good shake before changing into them - those little beggars get everywhere... The kitchen is down here too, I have to pass it on the way to the staff room, I have seen a very nice looking young man working in the kitchen, I'd be happy to get to know him... In due course, a message comes through the grapevine that this young man would like to get to know me too, and via various messages we arrange to meet after work. I write in my diary that I hope he asks me for a date - but not yet, not until we get to know each other better!! Well, we took things very, very slowly in those days......... Actually, not as slowly as I thought, as the first time Mike takes me home, after we have both being working on the late shift, I note in my diary that he kisses me 4 times! (I'm shocked!) Friday January 18th - we arrange to go to the cinema. 'Viva Las Vegas' is on at the Paragon. Mike isn't too bothered about musicals, but I love it, I adore musicals. At the GrandThe path of young love is strewn with misunderstandings, and three weeks of seeing Mike on a daily basis has proved to be too much, especially as I seem to have a rather fickle nature - when I get what I want, I don't want it. I enjoy the thrill of the chase, but soon tire of the quarry. I am meeting so many interesting people, and much as I loathe being 'the little liftgirl', it's a great way of meeting people. I met Tony Wright today and got his autograph, he looks exactly like the photo in my 'Film Star' diary, tanned and rugged, but not at all 'film-starry' - he's really nice. I keep my autograph book handy now, as I never know whom I'm going to meet. Guy Mitchell came to stay, managed to get a photograph but not an autograph - he's tall and handsome and very friendly. Jimmy Young is appearing at the Empire this week, and staying at the Grand, got his autograph - called me darling! He rings Australia - at £10 per minute! Hilda Baker is also here, she has a very nice young man with her called Arthur, he's supposed to be her manager, but he's always going off to play golf. One of the porter's gave me a funny look when I referred to Arthur as her manager, well that's what he told me, I insist, but I get another funny look, which indicates that I must have been born yesterday. I think I understand what he is getting at, but I cannot believe it. She is old enough to be his mother, and, whilst she is my favourite comedienne, and I have the utmost respect for her, she's not exactly the type that I would have thought Arthur would be interested in. (But then I was so-oo naive!) Arthur and I are getting on famously, I really do quite fancy him...and I am really very sorry when the week is up and they move on to some other town. (Little do I know that we will soon meet again...). I note in my diary that their hotel bill comes to £70.2s.4d - equivalent to about 34 weeks wages to me! The Platters are also here. They are all very friendly, Robi in particular, is very nice to me, gave me a kiss and a Krone as a keepsake. (Which I still discover from time to time, hidden away in those little pots that we all have somewhere, into which we pop drawing pins, foreign stamps, coins...) Life at the Grand is quite strange really, on the one hand, I am treated like the lowest of the low, mainly by the porters, yet the 'Stars' who stay here are usually very friendly, and treat me like a fully paid up member of the human race. Sometimes, they even treat me like I'm someone special.. Learning About Life (at The Grand) We somehow managed to buy a television in 1953, to enable us to watch the Queen's Coronation. I used to dash home from school to watch children's television and the antics of 'Billy Bunter' and his schoolmates at the fictitious Greyfriars School. It's February 1957 before we change our T.V. set so that we can receive ITV. Gathering around the fire to watch T.V. on a cold winter's evening, is the best place to be, and because we don't have central heating, we girls argue over who is going to go into the cold kitchen to make a pot of tea. Just going out into the hallway one feels the drop in temperature, only the thought of bringing a tin of Mum's homemade buns to have with the tea, prompts me to go. Mum is a great cook, and I have a great appetite! If I wasn't so active, I could have a real weight problem, as it is, I am growing faster than either of my sisters, which prompts Maurice to tease me mercilessly, and I am made to feel as big and as ungainly as a carthorse! His favourite joke is "don't upset Freda or she'll roll on you!" I was 9st, hardly huge, but compared to my size 10 sisters, it was. I was about 3 inches taller and perhaps a stone heavier than they were, and I remember how unfair it all seemed, with me being the youngest too! Little wonder I felt so uncomfortable in my horrible brown uniform. Our favourite T.V. programme is 'Quite Contrary', which features a very beautiful young lady called Katie Boyle, and introduces to the world, hairstylist, Raymond, (who became known as 'Mr. Teazy Weazy',) he not only demonstrates new hairstyles, but how to change these styles with the aid of hair ornaments and false hair pieces. (I heard the music today - "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody" - which was played as the model is turned round in her chair, so that we could view the hairstyle from all angles, and now that I'm into classical music, I realize that this very familiar piece, was, in fact 'stolen' from Chopin's Nocturne). It was all so glamorous - a million miles away from our working class lifestyle. Even so, I never thought of us as being poor, as everyone I knew was just the same. Although a certain 'snobbishness' existed amongst us. Mum was exceedingly house proud; her net curtains were always whiter than white, (she was quick to remark on anyone else's that weren't - "have you seen the colour of Mrs. so and so's nets?!!") and the front and back doorsteps scrubbed and 'blanco'd', or painted with 'red cardinal' according to the current trend. And it seemed to me that no sooner had the last room in the house been decorated, than mum would start again from the beginning! Wilson Peck's, a music shop just along the road from The Grand Hotel.The evening shift at 'The Grand' can be quite interesting; I stand by the lift observing all that is going on in the front hall. For a while I was most intrigued by the two women who regularly came in night after night. One tall, slim and blonde with a rather hard face, the other, shorter, and fatter with dyed black hair, and had obviously seen better days. (With hindsight, I would say that the blonde one was probably 30 to 35 years of age, and the other one about 45 - or maybe wishes she was!) They would sit in the front hall, watching everyone who passed by, then after a while they'd go to the ladies powder room, then they'd sit at the bar, which was just opposite the lift, chatting to the other guests. After that, they would walk into the other lounge by the back entrance and sit there for a while. I found it all rather mysterious, what a boring way to spend ones evenings - of course when I mentioned it, the porters were only too willing to explain their behaviour - and teased me for ever after for not knowing! But I still found it difficult to comprehend, why would anyone want to pay to be with these rather unattractive women? (I really did not know anything about prostitutes - why would I? They had never entered my life before, in any shape or form. For all my apparent success in school biology, which was purely academic, there were huge gaps in this area of knowledge, simply because there were huge gaps in what we were taught, and what was available to the curious. Mum was very warm hearted, generous and hard working, but rather straight-laced, she did not want me to know about sex and did not offer any explanations about anything, consequently, I would get very embarrassed at any allusion to sex, and closed my mind to it.) Leading off from the front hall, and just by the lift, is the ballroom - which I am not allowed to enter. I try to catch a glimpse as I go past the entrance, there are wonderful chandeliers, and a ball made up of tiny pieces of mirror, suspended from the ceiling, when it turns, even from where I stand by the lift, I can see the refracted light, cascading across the floor, and lighting up the faces of the ladies in their ball gowns and the men in their dinner suits, as they spill out into the front hall. I love looking at the ladies dresses, and their sparkling necklaces and bracelets. The men look so handsome in their dinner suits. Sometimes I am looked at with curiosity, I have even been described as 'quaint'! Martin, the page boy, suffers from this more than I do, although he is a year older than me, he is really tiny, he has a mass of blonde, naturally curly hair, and round blue eyes. He really does look very cute in his brown page's uniform, complete with pillbox hat - which he hates wearing! Guests think that we are brother and sister, although my curly hair is permed - I have it in the new 'bubble cut' that's so fashionable now. I try to walk casually away from the lift and innocently look inside the ballroom, but I am soon ushered back into my place by a porter, usually Mac - he's such a spoilsport! When Mr. Rendell, the manager, walks through the front hall, he always scowls at me and indicates for me to go inside the lift - I'm in a no-win situation with him, if I'm standing outside the lift - I'm ushered back into it, out of sight. If I'm sitting on my small stool in the corner of the lift - I'm told to 'smarten up'; he walks around as though he has a bad smell under his nose. And his wife thinks she's the queen bee - she rarely spares a look in my direction. In March, drummer, Tony Crombie, came to play at the Empire. We have now graduated to a 'box' at the Empire when quite a few of us go, not only do we have a really great view of the stage, but find that we get a lot of attention from the artists, perhaps they think that folks who can afford to sit in 'the ashtrays', (as the comedians like call them), must be 'somebody'. Anyway, it's a really good show; Tony Crombie can really play those drums! And it's a very lively evening. Tony Crombie doesn't stay at the Grand, but he comes into the hotel with Mr. Spitzer, who is the manager of the Empire, and I get his autograph and tell him how much we enjoyed the show. Johnny Spitzer lives in the hotel, and is very nice to me on the whole, but expects excellent service, and when he rings for the lift, he expects me to be there - but instantly! He nearly rings the buzzer off the wall. It's the same with the telephone, he can't just pick it up and wait to be answered, the little 'dolls eye' flashes madly until he's answered. I can't complain though, I only have to say that I want to go to see a show and he will have two tickets waiting for me at the box office. Mostly, I take Mum with me, and she and Mr. Spitzer always have a little chat. Also, if a visiting star I like isn't staying at the hotel, I only have to say, and Mr. Spitzer will arrange for me to meet them. He always introduces me to the stars he brings in the hotel and will make sure that I get photographs and autographs. All I have to do in return, is suffer a rather wet kiss, and a clasp to his huge body, but it is all very chaste - unlike some of the visitors to the hotel... Colin, who is a travelling salesman for a clothing company, appeared to be very nice at first; he comes quite often, hiring a room to 'show' the clothes. He's quite good looking, as well as being very funny, and I like him a lot, I regard him as my friend and I get quite jealous when I find he has been 'chatting up' Anita, who works the opposite shift to me. I didn't mind too much when he kissed me on the cheek, but when he asked me to stop the lift between the floors so that we could 'do it properly', I'm most offended, and I'm quite 'off' with him for a few days, in fact I feel pretty much on the defensive with him now, but contrarily, I'm still glad when he is visiting again. I realise that I like his attention but I'm giving nothing in return! Another salesman, who is travelling in jewellery, gives me a ring and announces that we are now engaged - doesn't he know I'm only fifteen?! Johnny Ray. Johnny Ray is here!! He's appearing at the City Hall for just one night. There are dozens of fans outside the hotel screaming for him. The porters have to stand in front of the glass doors to stop them from breaking in. Johnny is very tall and exceedingly thin, he's very nice, but he is rushed around by the people who are with him, so I don't get the chance to ask for his autograph, which is a great pity, because he is Mavis's very favourite singer, and I would like to have been able to get a signed photo for her. It is pandemonium outside all evening, quite exciting really, but I am on the inside, and I still can't get near him! When he comes into the lift, he is surrounded by so many people, that I am crowded up in the corner and barely have room to operate the handle. (You didn't think I pushed a button, did you? No such technology here!) I'm really rather sad when I discover that Johnny is leaving the next morning, as it has been very exciting having him stay here - really brightened up my life! There are still girls outside the hotel, and I hear lots of screams when he finally leaves - I wonder if any of them managed to get his autograph? Tex Ritter. Following Johnny Ray came Tex Ritter and a very peculiar friend. The friend is a hypnotist, he proves his powers by hypnotising Tex Ritter, his manager, and Mr. Spitzer, they are all slumped in their chairs in the front hall lounge, and other guests think that they are drunk! Whenever the hypnotist comes into the lift, he looks at me with deep brown, rather mysterious eyes, he says he's going to hypnotise me, but after having seen what happened to the others, there's no way this man is going to hypnotise me, and I refuse to look at him. But he catches me out when he speaks to me, and automatically I turn to look at him, I start to feel very strange - I panic and tell him to stop it, which, thankfully, he does. But I don't trust him, I know he wants to hypnotise me, I'm quite a bolshie little piece, usually able to take charge of a situation, but this man frightens me, so I make a point of not looking into his eyes again. Tex Ritter, on the other hand, is really nice, and the way he dresses makes me laugh. He is always in full cowboy gear, complete with tall Stetson and high-heeled boots with very pointed toes, which he frequently trips over! The Sheffield Telegraph reports Mavis' 21st birthday party.March 30th is Mavis's 21st birthday and we are going to hire a hall, there is going to be a huge party. We have a terrific time; a photographer from the Sheffield Telegraph & Star came to take photographs. A crowd of us go back to our house to play cards until the early hours. I stay up for as long as I can because Keith is there, and I really fancy him, he's tall and dark and handsome and is very fit because he plays football. He's 22, which is too old for me, or rather, I am too young for him, but he is really nice to me and most lads of his age aren't, and he lets me sit on his knee. Unfortunately it is my weekend on the switchboard, and I have to be up early - so reluctantly I have to leave them enjoying themselves. I rather think the other girls are glad I have gone; now they can have Keith's undivided attention. (If only I could have known then, that one day, I would have Keith's undivided attention, I would have gone to bed a much happier girl!)