Mr. Burcott on the music in the parks

Interviewer: [00:00:00] Now there’s music, too, from gramophone records and other sources, played in the Groves and the Grosvenor Park at the same time as the Illuminations. Did the music carry on?

Mr. Burcott: [00:00:11] Yes, yes. We started at the same time with a rather primitive arrangement in the, in the Groves only, the bandstand, and across the other side of the river, that space on the other side of the river. That was quite a primitive arrangement, not frightfully successful the first year. But by the next, by the following year, ’37, ’38, it became quite a it was then we have the amplifiers and record playing equipment in the band-underneath the bandstand, which was subject to flooding sometimes. And we have to, quite a lot of, to scuttle out quickly. Sometimes, it was up the table legs, the water, but we somehow survived and then it was decided, finally, when things got a little more ambitious, that we moved to the Groves, to the Grosvenor Park and a hut was built, a small wooden building was built, just by, over on the side of the park adjacent to St. John’s ruins. And we had a very ambitious affair. And they amplifiers were double in…the quality and er, output. And they, instead of the lines coming up from the Groves, they went down to the Groves and we had four huge speakers in the bandstand and loudspeakers throughout the park on various trees, all the way along the main runs of the park and which covered the entire Grosvenor Park. We had a tie up with the BBC. The BBC gave us permission to record if we wished, their programs in the afternoon and put them out at night. We also had facilities for relaying the broadcasts, popular broadcasts in the afternoon. We had two landlines rented from the GPO to the cinema, the Gaumont cinema and the Odeon cinema, from which er, the two organists played to the Grosvenor Park and the Groves. And the audiences participated in the sing songs which they had in the cinemas in those days. Sometimes, in the intervals the audience joined in and could be heard by the audiences in the Groves and Park. So everything, quite a good time was had by all.

Interviewer: [00:02:28] Real community singing.

Mr. Burcott: [00:02:30] It was!

Interviewer: [00:02:31] And how many years did this continue for? When did it end?

Mr. Burcott: [00:02:34] It went er, right throughout, as I said, it started in 36, throughout the war. We kept it going. As I say, it was, it became quite an ambitious project, right up to 52, 1952.

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