Help shed light on choir photograph

Hartburn and Middleton choir 1940s.
Hartburn and Middleton choir 1940s.

AN old photograph has recalled some fond family memories, but Herald readers have been asked to provide more information about the image.

Ninety-four-year-old Lance Robson, of Hartburn, came across the picture of the Hartburn and Middleton Choir in an old file.

It is believed to have been taken in the 1940s, at a time when the choir was so good that it won every competition it entered and Owen Branigan insisted that its members were always his backing singers.

With the help of his daughter Sue Cansdale, Mr Robson has been able to identify many of the people in the photograph, but the family are keen to find out more about it.

“Dad and I have identified as many choir members as we can, but we hope that some of your readers will recognise themselves or their relatives and will tell us more about them and if we have got any names wrong,” said Mrs Cansdale.

“It would also be interesting to know the year that the Hartburn and Middleton Choir won all these wonderful trophies and what the different trophies are. We know it was after 1939.”

There’s no doubt about the identity of one of the choir members though, as it is Mrs Cansdale’s grandmother Gladys Robson.

She and her husband, also called Lance, lived at Garden House in Hartburn, the gardeners’ bothy for the Longwitton estate.

“Two great Wellingtonia conifers grew on either side of the house. Their branches touched its walls and as a small child I have fond memories of my grandmother feeding the red squirrels which came down through the branches onto her bedroom windowsill,” said Mrs Cansdale.

“For many years, granny was President of the Hartburn and Middleton WI. Dad tells the story that one day she was rushing out to a meeting and she said to my uncle, then about 13, ‘Be a dear, go to the bathroom cupboard and wrap up some toiletries for the WI mystery prize for me’.

“Imagine her mortification when later that evening the winner of the mystery prize unwrapped her parcel in front of the assembled members to find squeezed empty tubes of toothpaste and ends of soap.”

Anyone who can provide more information about the photograph should contact Mrs Cansdale on 01670 772214.