Tramways and Fine Arts

By - Tuesday 27th August, 2013

Terry Coleman has a dream – let’s take a sideways glance at part of our artistic heritage.

Pondering the artistic and cultural landscape of our town, I often wonder if we need somebody to oversee the various large scale developments from an artistic point of view. An Arts Supremo or Tsar perhaps.

Somebody well versed in the traditional visual arts and architectural niceties etc., that can engender feelings of wellbeing to our townspeople and visitors alike. Somebody able to encourage and promote the various performing arts too.

Somebody, the likes of Alderman Foodbotham – grim booted, iron watch-chained, crag visaged – perpetual chairman of tramways and fine arts committee on Bradford City Council in the grand old days.  (With acknowledgement to the Peter Simple’s  ’Way of the World’  column in the Daily Telegraph)

Somebody with a sound knowledge of Brass Bands, String Orchestras and the Large Choir.

A first project to my mind, would be the refurbishment of the Fairfield Halls:

We will have a Civic Hall and Exhibition Centre for Croydon – the Fairfield Halls

A great vision will be required to plan and co-ordinate a multipurpose and complex building with state of the art facilities. Not only the major halls but the anti-rooms, for permanent and temporary exhibition, will need to be designed with great care and attention to every detail.

Teamwork will be required of course and I am sure that with good will, hard work, and support of our civic leaders the whole thing will be a great success. We will have a Civic Hall and Exhibition Centre for Croydon – the Fairfield Halls.

I look forward to a grand inaugural opening with a truly Philharmonic Concert reflecting every musical culture of the towns’ diversity.

A permanent display of our artworks and the collected artefacts that are currently held at the town hall will be shown to their full beauty and effect at the new Centre.

It took energy, enterprise, and spirit to bring us a modern tramway system – perhaps a similar initiative can be found to drive forward the Arts and Cultural aspects  of our town…?

Goodness, it’s 6:45 am. I’ve overslept, have I been dreaming?  

Ah, dream on lad…

Terry Coleman

Terry Coleman

Retired bloke having a lot of fun doing what he wants after 51 years doing what the bosses wanted. Croydon born & bred. Politics-Blairite, Faith-Agnostic, Interests-Music (mostly Ellington), Reading, Pilates, Gym.

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  • Anne Giles

    What a lovely idea!

  • George Harfleet

    Mayhap Prince Charles would voice his opinion? Perhaps not … he would probably seek to knock down much of the petrified edifices that have sprung up in the past fifty years. If only we could restore the Davis Theatre, Kennards, the Royal Parade that would be a start.
    I haven’t set foot inside the Fairfield Halls for many decades but I certainly loved it on those occasions when I went to a concert. Great acoustics. I daresay it might need a facelift but I cannot say of course.
    Cheers anyway…

    • Terry Coleman

      Ah yes George, we had some good old places which never should have been torn down. Not forgetting the Croydon Empire along North End, a wonderful variety theatre, plush yet cosy. Mum and Dad took me there many times just after war, to see the music hall variety shows. I can remember the singing voice of Issy Bonn and the comic antics of Wilson Keppel & Betty with their sand dance. It’s my privilege to hold these memories and also to share them occasionally.

      Happy days.

      • George Harfleet

        Yep, remember it with great affection. Used to climb up the outside steps to get to the “gods” and found it quite scary at first. This gallery was at such a steep angle it seemed as though one could easily take a tumble whilst seeking a seat. Most vivid memory is of that cheeky chappie, the saucy Max Miller. Never forget how he seemed to speak directly to you as he looked up to the gallery, eyes actually sparkling, probably due to the spotlight hitting his face. Those were the days my friend, but they had to end!