Violet Carson – Pianist, Singer, Musician 1898-1985 – Part 2

Ladies and Gentlemen; We invite you to “Have A Go”

Late in 1946 a new programme commenced on the BBC called “Have A Go.” It was the first broadcast quiz show to offer cash prizes. As opposed to being in a central studio, this time it was in local and sometimes quite unusual venues up and down the British Isles, that Wilfred Pickles, his wife Mabel, and Violet Carson would entertain. The entertainment also called upon local people to take part – answering questions about their lives and backgrounds; identifying songs played at the piano; and generally being part of the fun. The whole show was recorded and then broadcast later – the broadcast being an edited version of the proceedings.

Present Day Assessment

It has become increasingly difficult at this distance in time to identify what made “Have A Go” the success that it was (it regularly had a listening audience of 20 million) but there is no doubt that it was happily received and that many aspects of the show were welcomed, much in the way that talent shows are today. Here is a link to the opening music of the show with a typically lively accompaniment from Violet Carson.

Around the World

Have a Go! was also well-known in Australia and in 1951, the following short report was written in the Cairns Post:

Cairns Post – Friday 27 April 1951

“Wilfred Pickles’ “Have a Go!” programme is known and loved in many parts of the world and listeners have an intimate knowledge of the warmly human personality of this B.B.C. star. But few people know much about another ‘Have a Go!” regular, the woman whose tinkling piano music introduces each competitor and who accompanies them so skilfully when they sing, even though they may waver uncertainly from note to note. The adroit pianist is Violet Carson. She has been broadcasting for fifteen years in every kind of programme and is so versatile that people are inclined to take her radio contributions for granted.

“She can act; play Jazz and classical music; she can sing comedy songs and operatic arias; she amuses tiny listeners to “Children’s Hour” and also interests adults who tune in to the B.B.C.’s erudite Third Programme. A short while ago she did all these things in a single programme called “Violet’s Night Out,” an astonishing tour de force that was too little praised.

“But Violet’s greatest pleasures do not lie in demonstrating her versatility, in playing a piano concerto with an orchestra or singing a comic song that will bring the house down. She spends such an enormous amount of time in travelling from place to place – she has journeyed well over one hundred thousand miles with Wilfred since “Have a Go!” began in 1946 – that her idea of bliss is to get home to her quiet little house and potter about. Many women hate the household chores they must perforce do each day, but Violet really loves them, for they provide a welcome and restful change. But she has little chance to indulge in these and other feminine pursuits for such is her popularity that on nearly every day of the week she has to take part in either a broadcast or a concert.”

Social Value of Have A Go

Equally, it is difficult for us to understand the social impact on that generation of being the centre of attention for the nation. The fun was harmless and welcome. Rationing was still in force along with utility furniture and this all-round austerity was as unwelcome as the war itself which had just ended.

Later Assessments

In spite of some unfavourable comments nowadays on forums and in other published works, “Have A Go” was a tonic that the country needed and enjoyed – and the public queued up in their hundreds for the chance of a ticket to the recordings. There is much evidence on the web that the visit of the “Have A Go” team to their village or town or school was the highlight of the year for many many people.

Violet Carson Recalls

Violet Carson recalled the programme and aspects of her work and association with it for a 1981 broadcast programme about her life. That programme was produced by Geoffrey Wheeler. “Wilfred Pickles was marvellous,” she recalled. “After a long and difficult war, he presented the people to the people.”

A Greater Musical Presence

Violet Carson’s role in the show was far more than the final broadcast sections (as the programmes were presented to the public) would reveal. Before the show was recorded, Violet would single handedly rehearse the audience in Community Singing; she would entertain the audience for about an hour too – where she would sing serious and comic songs, accompanying herself at the piano and she would also play piano solos. She was quite adept at making even the humblest of pianos sound good. She recalled later, “the candidates for interview sat next to me at the piano and inevitably, there would be one who would say ‘I can’t do it, I just can’t go on.’ I would say to them, now you will be just fine. You go on there and enjoy yourself, he’ll put his arm around you and he’ll just get you to say the right things and you will be fine.”

Appreciation by Howard Lockhart, Pioneer Broadcaster from Scotland

Only those who obtained tickets to the recording of the show (and they were avidly sought) would see Violet Carson at her best. After her death in 1985, Howard Lockhart (Howard McIlwraith Lockhart, 1912-1987), broadcaster, actor and playwright, wrote a letter of appreciation to the Glasgow Herald outlining this forgotten aspect of Violet Carson’s work.

In all, Violet Carson took part in 159 “Have a Go” programmes in the space of five years. Below are the places of recording and dates of broadcasts.  She was replaced by Harry Hudson.

Have A Go –
Wilfred Pickles in “HAVE A GO!” The Quiz visits:- Musical illustrations provided by Violet Carson. Produced by Philip Robinson

001-Wednesday 25 December 1946 – Blackburn, Lancashire (Old Folks’ Christmas Treat)
002-Wednesday 1 January 1947 – Merseyside
003-Wednesday 8 January 1947 – Wilfred Pickles invites you to his ‘local’
004-Wednesday 15 January 1947 – Lincolnshire
005-Wednesday 22 January 1947 – Catterick Camp, North Riding of Yorkshire
006-Wednesday 29 January 1947 – Ayr
007-Wednesday 5 February 1947 – Flintshire: Buckley Young People’s Club
008-Wednesday 12 February 1947 – Dockland Settlement, Canning Town, London
009-Wednesday 19 February 1947 – Portsmouth
010-Wednesday 12 March 1947 – Veterans of variety now living in retirement at Twickenham
011-Wednesday 19 March 1947 – St Dunstan’s
012-Wednesday 26 March 1947 – Nottingham
013-Wednesday 9 April 1947 – Oldham, Lancashire
014-Wednesday 16 April 1947 – Tiverton, Devon
015-Wednesday 23 April 1947 – Gloucester
016-Wednesday 7 May 1947 – British Legion Taxi School, Kennington, London
017-Wednesday 14 May 1947 – Chard, Somerset
018-Wednesday 21 May 1947 – Aberdeen
019-Wednesday 28 May 1947 – Ferndale, Rhondda Valley (Pathe)
020-Wednesday 15 October 1947 – Darwen, Lancashire
021-Wednesday 22 October 1947 – Glynn, Northern Ireland
022-Wednesday 29 October 1947- Brigg, Lincolnshire
023-Wednesday 5 November 1947 – Staveley, Derbyshire
024-Friday 14 November 1947 – Sheffield, West Riding of Yorkshire
025-Wednesday 19 November 1947 – All Children’s Edition from Paddington, London
026-Friday 28 November 1947 – Peel, Isle of Man
027-Sunday 7 December 1947 – Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffs.
028-Wednesday 10 December 1947 – Ebbw Vale, Monmouthshire
029-Wednesday 17 December 1947 – London: Park Prewett Hospital, Basingstoke guests; from a Southern Railway Canteen
030-Wednesday 24 December 1947 – Driffield, East Riding of Yorkshire
031-Wednesday 31 December 1947 – Hogmanay at the Liverpool Burns Club
032-Wednesday 7 January 1948 – “In-quiz-ition” at the Tower
033-Friday 16 January 1948 – Lampeter, Cardiganshire
034-Wednesday 21 January 1948 – Women’s Land Army, Pollington, East Riding of Yorkshire
035-Wednesday 28 January 1948 – Bilston, Midlands
036-Wednesday 11 February 1948 – Berwick-upon-Tweed
037-Wednesday 18 February 1948 – Queen Mary’s Hospital, Roehampton
038-Wednesday 25 February 1948 – Pudsey, West Riding of Yorkshire
039-Wednesday 3 March 1948 – Bristol
040-Wednesday 10 March 1948 – Ormskirk, Lancashire
041-Wednesday 17 March 1948 – Banbridge, County Down, Northern Ireland
042-Wednesday 24 March 1948 – Territorial Drill Hall, Highgate
043-Wednesday 31 March 1948 – Reeth, Swaledale, North Riding of Yorkshire
044-Wednesday 7 April 1948 – Redditch, Worcestershire
045-Wednesday 14 April 1948 – Spalding, Lincolnshire
046-Wednesday 21 April 1948 – Todmorden, West Riding of Yorkshire/Lancashire
047-Wednesday 12 May 1948 – Holy Island, Northumberland
048-Wednesday 19 May 1948 – G.P.O., London
049-Wednesday 26 May 1948 – Auchendennan Youth Hostel, Loch Lomond
050-Wednesday 2 June 1948 – Rochdale, Lancashire
051-Wednesday 9 June 1948 – Home for Retired Actors, Northwood, Middlesex
052-Wednesday 16 June 1948 – Retrospective for the Year “So Long!”
053-Wednesday 6 October 1948 – Wigan, Lancashire
054-Wednesday 13 October 1948 – Ballaugh, Isle of Man
055-Wednesday 20 October 1948 – Old Age Pensioners’ Club, Leith, Scotland
056-Wednesday 27 October 1948 – Oakham, Rutland
057-Wednesday 3 November 1948 – Queen Elizabeth’s Training College for the Disabled, Leatherhead, Surrey
058-Wednesday 10 November 1948 – Galway City, Eire (Ireland)
059-Wednesday 17 November 1948 – Llanidloes, Montgomeryshire
060-Wednesday 24 November 1948 – NAAFI Club, Nottingham
061-Wednesday 1 December 1948 – Community Centre, Watchet, Somerset
062-Wednesday 15 December 1948 – Sandwich, Kent
063-Wednesday 22 December 1948 – Old Folks’ Treat, Morecambe and Heysham, Lancashire
064-Wednesday 29 December 1948 – St George’s Crypt, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire
065-Wednesday 5 January 1949 – John o’Groats
066-Wednesday 12 January 1949 – Land’s End, Cornwall
067-Wednesday 19 January 1949 – Clayton-le-Moors, Lancashire
068-Wednesday 26 January 1949 – Royal Hospital, Chelsea
069-Wednesday 2 February 1949 – Garnant, Carmarthenshire, South Wales
070-Wednesday 9 February 1949 – Kilkeel, Kingdom of Mourne, Eire, Ireland
071-Wednesday 23 February 1949 – Hemel Hempstead
072-Wednesday 2 March 1949 – Castleford Secondary Modern School, West Riding of Yorkshire
073-Wednesday 9 March 1949 – Lydney, Gloucestershire
074-Wednesday 16 March 1949 – The Glens of Antrim, Northern Ireland
075-Wednesday 23 March 1949 – A working mens’ club in Reddish, Cheshire
076-Wednesday 30 March 1949 – Bethesda, Caernarvonshire, North Wales
077-Wednesday 6 April 1949 – Fenton, Potteries
078-Wednesday 13 April 1949 – Scouts and Guides of Louth, Linconshire
079-Wednesday 20 April 1949 – on board H.M.S. Anson
080-Wednesday 27 April 1949 – Haworth, West Riding of Yorkshire
081-Wednesday 4 May 1949 – Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire
082-Wednesday 11 May 1949 – “So Long!” Retrospective
083-Wednesday 5 October 1949 – Royal Mint
084-Wednesday 12 October 1949 – canteen of a Cotton Mill, Lostock, Bolton, Lancashire
085-Wednesday 19 October 1949 – Pitlochry, Perthshire, Scotland
086-Wednesday 26 October 1949 – Birmingham Royal Institution of the Blind
087-Wednesday 2 November 1949 – Staveley, Westmorland
088-Wednesday 9 November 1949 – Isle of Ely Youth Hostel, Cambridgeshire
089-Wednesday 16 November 1949 – Cardigan, South Wales
090-Wednesday 23 November 1949 – Bromyard, Herefordshire
091-Wednesday 30 November 1949 – Cassington, Oxfordshire
092-Wednesday 7 December 1949 – Lisnaskea, County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland
093-Wednesday 14 December 1949 – Hinckley, Leicestershire
094-Wednesday 21 December 1949 – Old Folks’ Christmas Party, Blackpool, Lancashire
095-Wednesday 28 December 1949 – Blaenau Ffestiniog, Caernarvonshire, North Wales
096-Wednesday 4 January 1950 – Brown Rigg Camp School, Bellingham, Northumberland
097-Wednesday 11 January 1950 – Kirkcudbright, South West Scotland
098-Wednesday 18 January 1950 – 150th Birthday Party
099-Wednesday 25 January 1950 – Lynton, North Devon
100-Wednesday 1 February 1950 – London Zoo
101-Wednesday 8 February 1950 – Box, Wiltshire
102-Wednesday 15 February 1950 – Staithes, North Riding of Yorkshire
103-Wednesday 22 February 1950 – Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire
104-Wednesday 1 March 1950 – Mountain Ash, Glamorganshire, South Wales
105-Wednesday 8 March 1950 – Ministry of Pensions Hospital, Chapel Allerton, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire
106-Wednesday 15 March 1950 – Canteen of a Paper Mill, Aylesford, Kent
107-Wednesday 22 March 1950 – John Perryn School, East Acton, London
108-Wednesday 29 March 1950 – Macclesfield, Cheshire
109-Wednesday 5 April 1950 – the new aircraft carrier, Ark Royal, Birkenhead, Cheshire
110-Wednesday 12 April 1950 – “So Long!” – Reminiscences of the present series
111-Wednesday 20 September 1950 – Port of London
112-Wednesday 27 September 1950 – Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland
113-Wednesday 4 October 1950 – Falkirk, Stirlingshire, Scotland
114-Wednesday 11 October 1950 – Dorton House, School for Blind Children, Kent
115-Wednesday 18 October 1950 – Mousehole, Cornwall
116-Wednesday 8 November 1950 – Wexford, Eire
117-Wednesday 15 November 1950 – Resolven, Glamorganshire, South Wales
118-Wednesday 22 November 1950 – A Glasgow School
119-Wednesday 29 November 1950 – Jarrow, Tyneside, Co. Durham
120-Wednesday 6 December 1950 – Oswaldtwistle, Lancashire
121-Wednesday 13 December 1950 – Newton Abbot, Devon
122-Wednesday 20 December 1950 – An old folks’ Christmas party in Liverpool
123-Wednesday 27 December 1950 – Inverness, Scotland
124-Wednesday 3 January 1951 – Millom, Cumberland
125-Wednesday 10 January 1951 – Holywell, Flintshire
126-Wednesday 17 January 1951 – Colne, Lancashire
127-Wednesday 24 January 1951 – Much Wenlock, Shropshire
128-Wednesday 31 January 1951 – Heckmondwike, West Riding of Yorkshire
129-Wednesday 7 February 1951 – Rugby, Warwickshire
130-Wednesday 14 February 1951 – Runcorn, Cheshire
131-Wednesday 21 February 1951 – Outward Bound Sea School, Aberdovey, Merionethshire, Mid-Wales
132-Wednesday 28 February 1951 – Billingsgate Fish Market, London
133-Wednesday 2 May 1951 – Staff Canteen in the South Bank Exhibition of the Festival of Britain
134-Wednesday 9 May 1951 – a Cotton mill in Shaw, Oldham, Lancashire
135-Wednesday 16 May 1951 – Belfast Linen Workers, Belfast, Northern Ireland
136-Wednesday 23 May 1951 – A Burns’ Supper in Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland
137-Wednesday 30 May 1951 – Hamble, near Southampton
138-Wednesday 6 June 1951 – Stepney, London
139-Wednesday 13 June 1951 – Pontardawe, Glamorgan
140-Wednesday 20 June 1951 – Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire
141-Wednesday 27 June 1951 – Beverley, East Riding of Yorkshire
142-Wednesday 5 December 1951 – Rawtenstall, Lancashire
143-Wednesday 16 December 1951 – Moygashel, County Tyrone
144-Wednesday 19 December 1951 – St Dunstan’s Club, London
145-Wednesday 26 December 1951 – Old folks’ Christmas Party, Sutton Coldfield
146-Wednesday 2 January 1952 – Dunfermline, Fife
147-Wednesday 9 January 1952 – Merchant Navy Club, Avonmouth
148-Wednesday 16 January 1952 – Anglo-Scandinavian Society, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire
149-Wednesday 23 January 1952 – Port Talbot, Glamorganshire
150-Wednesday 30 January 1952 – The Mrs Mopps of Whitehall
151-Wednesday 6 Februry 1952 – Fort William, Inverness-shire
152-Wednesday 13 February 1952 – St. Dennis, Cornwall
153-Wednesday 20 February 1952 – Bramham, West Riding of Yorkshire
154-Wednesday 12 March 1952 – Clipstone Schools, Nottinghamshrie
155-Wednesday 19 March 1952 – Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire
156-Wednesday 26 March 1952 – Miners of Murton Colliery, County Durham
157-Wednesday 2 April 1952 – Enham-Alamein, Hampshire a village for disabled ex-servicemen
158-Wednesday 9 April 1952 – Hartington, Derbyshire
159-Wednesday 16 April 1952 – Six year retrospective (Last series where Violet Carson Plays)

Thursday 6 February 1947 – Report from “The Stage”
“Last Sunday at Brinsworth:
A most eventful party took place at Brinsworth on Sunday last when the arrangements made by Harry Marlow, in co-operation with the B.B.C., for Wilfred Pickles to record one of his “Have A Go” features, took place at the home. A special tea was provided for the old people and guests, followed by an impromptu concert which led up to the time for the broadcast event. Eight old-time performers were selected to take part in this popular quiz, and, from all reports, it would appear that the effort was an outstanding success. The old-timers, who will be heard on the air on March 12, are Amy Knott, Arthur Reece, Lillie Lassah, Rose Elliott, Willie Black, Tom E. Conover, Mrs. Donnell, and Sydney Lee.

Among the visitors who braved the wintry conditions were Nat Mills and Bobbie, Harry and Marjorie Ristori, Mr. and Mrs. Vincent Lawson with Robin, Bob Lecardo, Mrs. Harry Marlow, Miss Florence Wilkins, Mr. and Mrs. W. Ramm, George Elrick, Billy Thorburn, Talbot O’Farrell, Mrs. Wilfred Pickles, Miss Betty Nicholls, and quite a number of local friends interested in the home. Special mention should be made of the help given by Marjorie Ristori and Nat Mills with the concert, and Violet Carson at the piano. The broadcast of Wilfred Pickles’ “Have A Go” takes place on Wednesday, March 12.”

Wednesday 5 March 1947 – Abridged report from the “Gloucester Citizen”
“…The crowded Assembly Room housed only a fraction of those who wanted to see the famous B.B.C. personality in the flesh. For over an hour, while the blizzard raged outside, they enjoyed the pawky humour of this North Country star, who told them he appreciated his visit to the beautiful capital of a beautiful county because Halifax had been described as a Cotswold village which had failed to pass its medical!…(contestants answered questions on)”…tunes about hats; ballet; tune titles on birds. The (Wilfred) Pickles part of the programme was prefaced by songs sentimental and gay by Violet Carson, song medlies (sic) by two of the “Three in Rhythm” – the other, the audience were told, had been beaten by the blizzard on his bus journey – and ballads by Richard English (baritone).”

Thursday 25 September 1947 – Larne Times – Report
“Have A Go…Although admission was by ticket only there was a lengthy queue outside the hall half-an-hour before the doors were opened. Prior to the recording the audience was entertained by two delightful Belfast singers, Leila Webster and Frank M’Donald, with solos and duets. They were enthusiastically received, as was Violet Carson, whose songs at the piano added greatly to the enjoyment. Miss Carson also acted as accompanist throughout the show.”

Wednesday 5 November 1947 – Western Daily Press – Report
“Have A Go at Filton…Before the broadcast commenced there was a “warming up” concert in which local artists – Sandy Moir, piano-accordionist, the two Audreys, duettists and Violet Carson, of the B.B.C. – took part…So many tried to gain admission for the performance that even ticket holders had to be turned away. 450 people crowded in to take part in this popular and spontaneous programme.”

Driffield Times – Saturday 20 December 1947 – Report on the Visit of “Have A Go” at the Old Folks’ Tea
This article is worth quoting in full. Extracts from unedited and discarded footage from the Pathe Newsreel exists on youtube. Here is the link.

Driffield’s Old Folk Will Be Heard— And Seen—By Millions Tea – Presentations – Entertainment – Quiz: Highlights of a Memorable Occasion IT will take a long time to erase from the memories of Driffield old folks the red letter day of their annual tea and entertainment in the Town Hall on Wednesday of last week, when, apart from the usual tea and entertainment, the highlight of the event was the appearance of Wilfred Pickles and a a troupe of B.B.C. artistes to conduct one of the famous “Have a Go” quizzes, which will be broadcast to the world in the course of a few days. For weeks active preparation had been going on and much hard work was put in to ensure the event being the best ever held. The Town Hall was elaborately decorated to give the place a real festive appearance, and an excellent tea was served to the guests by the committee of the Old Folks Treat, and this was efficiently handled under the supervision of Mrs. S. J. Honor, to whom the thanks of the committee are extended, as she and her band of willing helpers had spent almost the whole day in preparation for the meal. The host and hostess were Councillor W. A. Wilson, C.C., and his daughter, Mrs. K. C. Jackson, who stepped into the breach when her sister. Mrs. P. J. Walkington, was unable to attend because of illness. The Rev. C. H. Stanley made an excellent chairman and Introduced the host and hostess. Others supporting these gentlemen were Coun, H. Taylor, J.P. (chairman of Driffield U.D.C.), Mr. G. Wadsworth, M.P. (Buckrose), Mrs. Ellis, Mr. and Mrs. E, Redman, Mr. and Mrs. C. S. Wood, Coun. A. Hope. Mrs. J. H. Steventon and Miss Witty. Introducing the host and hostess, the chairman said he did not know a man in Driffield more worthy of that honour than Coun, Wilson. He had a wonderful record of service for Driffield, and was interested in all kinds public activities. Councillor Wilson then addressed the gathering and said they were gathered together as one big family and were all going to have a good time. He gave them all a cordial welcome and hoped they would enjoy themselves. He paid a great tribute to Mr. C. S. Wood, the hon. secretary, and Mrs. S. J. Honor, who had worked very hard for this event.  Councillor Wilson then revealed that it was his 70th birthday that day, and said that three members of the audience were also celebrating their birthday that day—Mr. Charles West, who was also 70. and Mrs. Baggley, and Mr. G. Wadsworth. M.P. To the first two Mr. Wilson handed small presents, and to Mr. Wadsworth he offered his congratulations and hoped he would be “as fit at 70 as I am.” Mrs. Ellis then rose to make two small presentations to two ladies who were both over 90 years old— Mrs. R. Watson and Miss H. Hodgson from the Rest Houses. She handed a sheepskin rug to to each. Councillor Horace Taylor said that In these days when there was a shortage of fuel a few bags of wood would be useful, so he gave them for competition. He then welcomed the guests on behalf of the Old Folks Treat Committee, and said the Council had loaned the Town Hall free of charge for the occasion, and hoped all would have a happy time. . . The bags of logs were won by Mrs Sawden. Scarborough Road, and Mrs. Watts, Bridge Street Mrs. E. Redman presented a bouquet of bronze chrysanthemums to Mrs K C. Jackson, who thanked them on behalf of her sister, Mrs. Walkington, who was in hospital. Mrs. Burnham, wife of the Vicar of Watton, presented an iced cake, given by Mrs. S. J. Honor, to Mr. Wilson The Rev. C. H. Stanley then presented Mr. Wilson with Biro pen from the committee with a a letter Of Appreciation, wishing the host health and happiness in the coming years.  Receiving the gifts Mr. Wilson said words failed him to reply, but he thanked the committee and Mrs Honor for the wonderful gifts. Mrs. J. H. Steventon then cut a handsome iced birthday cake given by Messrs. Wm. Jackson & Sons, Driffield and Hull, and pieces were handed round to the guests. Mr G. Wadsworth, M.P. then congratulated all who had helped to organise such a wonderful evening and said he was pleased it was his birthday, too. He had forgotten all about until his wife, who was in hospital in London, had telephoned him and congratulated him and sent her regrets at not being present.Mr C. S. Wood said he was delighted to see them all enjoying themselves. He recalled the commencement those events. He told how Councillor A. Hope went to see Councillor Wilson in reference to the children’s festivities for V-Day, and they decided to do something for the old folks. “They lit a fire which they hoped would never go out” said Mr Wood, and with the help of the people of Driffield he hoped they would be able to sit down to a tea and entertainment for many years to come. He wished all a very happy Christmas and to the people whose birthday it was he hoped all would spared for many happy years. “Father Christmas” (Mr. F. Smith) came round and gave every person an orange. Mrs. K. C. Jackson’s party next gave some selections from the film “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” which were greatly enjoyed. Mrs. Jackson was the accompanist, and Margaret Russell, one of the party, handed her a box of chocolates, for which Mrs. Jackson thanked the company. Miss. Southwick’s pupils gave a clever display of fancy dancing in costume, and at the close Yvonne Cawood presented Mrs. S. Hope, the accompanist, with a box of chocolates. Community singing followed until the entertainment was taken over by the B.B.C. Violet Carson, the B.B.C. pianist, introduced the artistes, and also accompanied the items on the piano. Songs were sung by Fred Noble, Gwynneth Thomas and Violet Carson, duet by Violet Carson and Fred Noble, and two musical monologues by Violet Carson. Wilfred Pickles was introduced by Barney Colehan, and was greeted with deafening applause. Addressing his audience, Mr. Pickles said the B.B.C. had something like 800 applicants for his “Quiz” every week and had over 1,000 on the waiting list, but they decided to come to Driffield and he hoped they would all feel as proud as he did. That was Christmas party and would be broadcast on Xmas Eve and Xmas Day. He wanted them to enjoy themselves ‘and wanted to impress upon them very seriously that they were as prominent as the artistes and the people who had volunteered to take part in the quiz’. They had had a good entertainment and he hoped they would give something to his Northern Children’s Hour Christmas Appeal for Invalid and Crippled Children. Those taking part in the quiz were Mr. Harry Bowser, Mrs. J. R. Woodmansey. Mrs. M. L. Baggley, Mr. A. Longbottom, Miss Hannah Hodgson, Mr. A. Curtis, Mrs. J. E. Russell, Mr. George Barr, all of Driffield, Miss Hodgson is over 90 years of age. The quiz was followed by community singing with Violet Carson at the piano. Mr. Pickles thanked the company for being a lovely audience, and said they had treated the artistes magnificently. The scene was filmed by Pathe Gazette, and will be shown at the local cinemas shortly. After the entertainment had closed a large crowd packed the Market Place to wait for Wilfred Pickles to appear on the floodlit balcony of the Bell Hotel. When did so he was greeted with a tremendous cheer. He cracked several jokes and thanked all who had contributed to his Christmas Appeal, for which over £11 had been presented to him. Mr. A. Longbottom had given his quiz money back for that fund, and Mrs. Woodmansey, who won the jackpot question, also made a contribution. The thanks of the Committee are due to Messrs. Stephenson’s Garage, Mr. W. Dring, and Mr. N. Wardlow, who conveyed the old folks to their homes after the event free of charge.”

Thursday 22 April 1948 – The Stage – “Have A Go” Report of the Show at Denville Hall, a Home for Retired Actors
‘…The community singing at the broadcasts of this programme completed it cheerily. Violet Carson, of the B.B.C., a fine pianist, singer and humorist, with Fred Noble and Gwynneth Thomas, also of the B.B.C – the latter with an admirable soprano and the former with a rich bass – contributed a most enjoyable concert.’

Tuesday 4 May 1948 – Berwickshire News and General Advertiser – “Have A Go” visits “Holy Island” (Report)
“Violet Carson introduced the artistes after an introduction by Jack Dobson. “I always knew of the Island,” she said, “but never thought I’d see it.” Violet gave several solos as well as accompanying the artistes and soon the audience were “warmed up” and eager to do their part in the show.
Footnote. – Because there was no suitable piano on the Island one was hired from Berwick and brought over the sands by James Allison, an ex-postman, with his horse and cart.”


One thought on “Violet Carson – Pianist, Singer, Musician 1898-1985 – Part 2

  1. This blog presents invaluable findings, based on painstaking research, regarding Violet Carson’s long career as a musician before she took on the role of Ena Sharples in Coronation Street in 1960.

    Carson’s musical work has been neglected by scholars and critics; and there are too few recordings of her work as pianist and singer. This blog thus fills a big gap in our knowledge and appreciation of Violet Carson and represents an important body of research.

    Looking forward to seeing more work on this.

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