THE NEW CROSS EMPIRE - memories
My Mum and Dad used to take me to the New Cross Empire which was across the road from Addey & Stanhope School. The last show presented there was Syncapating Sandy. He was a marathon piano player, he played continuously for a week I think it was, that was in 1957 I believe.
I remember it well as I saw Sandy that week.. They put a screen around him at different times for privacy. He was playing all the time and they had speakers outside so it was always crowded on the pavement . I went there many times and one star that always stays in my mind is Tessie O'Shea. I went to see it when it was pulled down but it was very sad as it was so popular with the locals.
My Grandparents both worked at the New Cross Empire, my Nan in the box office and my Pop as an attendant. So I got to see most of the shows, artists like Norman Wisdom, Winifred Atwell, Harry Lester and his Hayseeds, Billy Cotton band show, Hutch and many more. One who stood out for me was Dorothy Squires often playing principal boy in the Pantomines. I was wearing my new shoes which creaked a bit and was walking back stage and she turned and said "have you not paid for them yet". It was not only this incident but her generosity to the young cast by giving a lovely party at the end of each run. I also remember the safety curtain coming down and being told of a raid and if we wished we could stay as the show was going on, the cheek of that guy Hitler bombing in the middle of our show. Lots and lots more lovely memories, hot jacket potatoes and roast chestnuts outside.
Here is some memorabilia of my darling aunt Ronn'e Conn she appear at the theatre 1948 - from her niece Maxine Warner
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