Talk of the Town c1946

40 year old Jess Yates at the Odeon Stockton’s Compton Organ accompanies a dance troupe in 1946. Far right is Nancy Skelton (nee Brigham) who the photograph belongs to. Nancy is part of the Audrey Bailey Dance School who with others are doing Sunday rehearsals at the Cinema for a spot to promote the film “Talk of the Town”. Nancy later had a successful career as a singer and toured with the Kay sisters for a while, her father Eric Brigham ran the Alma Hotel and later the Bridge Hotel in Thornaby. Jess Yates was then touring Rank cinemas as a circuit organist before moving into television production during the 1950’s.

Photograph courtesy of Nancy Skelton, details courtesy of Derek Smith.

3 thoughts on “Talk of the Town c1946

  1. I am the cousin (Woodward family) of Audrey Gardner, formerly Audrey Bailey of the Audrey Bailey School of Dance, and we are cousins too of Nancy Skelton (formerly Brigham) who is featured in, and supplied the photograph. Audrey was delighted to see this photograph in the archive and to have the comments. She asks me to say that she is alive and is very well, living at Nunthorpe but currently sitting out the Coronavirus “lockdown” with her daughter, Catherine Gardner. Neither Audrey nor Nancy would say this, but I shall – Nancy and Audrey are both still vivacious and lovely – and both still sing to charm the birds off the trees. Audrey says that if anyone remembers her or her dance school, she would love to hear from you.


  2. Where are they now you ask Ron, unlike you and I they are mainly with the Angels still dancing. My late Wife danced with several schools of dancing in Stockton and she danced in Pantomime on the Globe and in a couple of shows in the REGAL as I still call it. She was a dancer all her life even in the Albert Hall London in her 60’s. My Daughters went Tap Dancing for fun at the Peppercorn Stockton and Joan nearly 70 by then was showing the instructor intricate moves.
    I met Joan at a dance, (a long very strange story) and we danced all out lives often abroad we demonstrated English Dancing, we Waltzed in Vienna, also in the Sound of Music Gazebo among many places.
    Those Girls and there were many lived for dancing and you could say had their fifteen minutes of fame on stage at the local live shows.
    I would think they became the Calendar girls or the Girls who still walked tall with the dancers swagger down Stockton High Street well into their 80’s. They learned the hard way, practice practice and even more practice the only way to learn anything.
    The amazing Compton Organ set off my love of music, I got my first piano at 7 years old and have had a few up to the modern Yamaha I have today plus an Accordion tucked away somewhere in the house we had many a party with our own bands even though my mate played a right hand strung guitar left handed. (Don’t ask I never worked it out). The wonderful girls could still dance in the old fashioned way none of this perambulation around the handbag on the floor.
    Wonderful memories.


  3. Kudos to the dancers of the day. Where are they now?
    I recall The Mighty Compton organ and Henry Wingfield the resident organist who used to entertain the audience during the intermissions when girls would walk up and down the aisles selling chocolates, candies, and cigarettes. Henry would play popular music that induced the audience to sing along, whilst the screen would portray the lyrics – the bouncing ball would pick out the correct notes of music. Wasn’t the Odeon initially called The Regal?


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