REG CALVERT 1928 - 1966

THE BOY

Childhood Memories from Jim (Arthur) Addy 

1938

One sunny summer afternoon the peace in our street was disturbed by a giant pantechnicon towing a large trailer. On the rear was a sign 'Max Speed 20 mph. With trailer 16 mph.' The vehicle stopped at no. 33 Calton Street, Huddersfield. It was owned by Mr Turton who rented out the houses on either side. All the lace curtains twitched and the ladies saw a massive dog. It was a black Newfoundland and holding the lead was a boy of 10. An elderly couple stepped out, Tom and Lila Calvert, the boy's grandparents.

Next day, my friend Bob and I met the new boy, Reg, with his dog and we quickly became the best of friends as children do. We played games, cycled and enjoyed the putting green at the park. 

Tom Calvert was an engineer and had a good job at David Browns in Huddersfield. In the evening he played alto sax and clarinet in the local dance bands. They had moved from Colne, Lancashire where the family had 'Calvert's Music Shop'. Tom had the first saxophone in Lancashire and each month he received the latest dance music scores. He probably worked in engineering while Lila ran the shop.

When the war started on 3rd September 1939, fireworks were banned and there was to be no bonfire on 5th November. Reg and I soon found out how to make gunpowder and our own fireworks. We made some big bangs but luckily we didn't injure ourselves. 

Reg bought some old telephones on wooden mounts and we fitted theses to our bedroom walls and had a three way telephone between Reg's house, mine and Bob's. Bob became the telephone operator and could connect us. We could only afford one length of wire for the incoming call so Reg connected the system up to the water pipes for the outgoing conversation. All the neighbours complained when it affected the local radios.

1942 When Reg left school (age 14) his grandfather got him an engineering apprenticeship at David Browns. Reg wanted to be an electrician so he left and got a job with an electrical contractor. Then he  became interested in ladies hairdressing so did an apprenticeship with Miss Copley, the finest ladies hairdresser in town. She was also a posticher (wig maker) so Reg learnt how to make wigs as well. Miss Copley's brother owned Banks in Australia.

Before the war, perfume was imported from Paris but when the Nazis occupied, the supply dried up. Reg persuaded Miss Copley to allow him to install an illicit perfume still in her attic and it worked night and day, producing perfume.

When we were 16, in the Easter break, Reg and I cycled the 80 miles to Morecombe and Lancaster. We visited his mother, Ada, who had married and had 2 little girls a that time. We stayed the night and next morning we went down the coast to Blackpool to visit some friends. Late in the afternoon we left and cycled through the night to be home for work on Wednesday morning. In the evening, Reg was now playing E flat alto clarinet in local dance bands for 15 shillings a night. Sometimes he played piano with a trio.


Spring, 1945 we were aged 17 and  it was obvious that the war in Europe would soon be over. The Holme Valley near Huddersfield is 7 miles long and there were hundreds of soldiers in training and they each had a girlfriend. Reg saw the PCC at Holmbridge Church and asked if he could rent the Church Hall on Victory Night.

"When is it?" they asked.

"I don't know," replied Reg. "Even Churchill doesn't know."

"We could be having a Whist Drive," they replied.

"Pay you double," said Reg.

"Done" they agreed.

Reg then went to see Aub Hurst who ran the best dance band in Huddersfield to ask him to play for him on Victory Night.

"When is it? ... etc etc."

Reg negotiated double rate and booked the band for Victory night.

When Churchill came on the radio to say that the war in Europe was over, he declared the next day to be a national holiday. VE day. I helped Reg and he hired a taxi for the day. We loaded it with huge loud speakers and a powerful amplifier which would only work from a mains supply. Calling at every village in the valley, Reg would knock on doors and smile to persuade the lady of the house to allow him to plug his amplifier into the house electricity. Then he announced to everyone that there would be a Grand Victory Dance at Holmebridge.

The hall was packed all night and after Reg had paid for everything, he made over £200 profit. An average weekly wage was £5 at that time. Soon after, aged 18, he was conscripted into the army and they paid him 3 shillings a day (15p) and a very small allowance for Dorothy.

My mother, Margaret Addy and my aunt Clara, thought the world of dear Reg. They said it was like a ray of sunshine when he visited them. His was not a wasted life. He gave joy to millions. I shall always remember him and think of the many, many happy hours we spent together.  P.S. I wept a little when writing this." 

Jim (Arthur) Addy (Memories edited from his letter to the author after he had received and read Book one: 'Popcorn to Rock 'n' Roll.)


Above: Reg Calvert  

Trilogy: 'Life and Death of a Pirate'. The incredible lives of Reg and Dorothy Calvert, musicians, singers, pirate radio disc jockeys and engineers. From making popcorn to Rock 'n' Roll, to buying Clifton Hall, the first 'school' of Rock, to owning a pirate radio station on abandoned wartime forts in the Thames estuary.  A poignant love story, often funny with much laughter and music. Ends in conspiracy and murder.   

Reg Calvert grew into an amazing young man, creative with a brilliant mind. He could turn his hand to almost anything - and he did! Both his parents were professional musicians, his father a violinist and his mother a superb clarinettist and saxophonist. She travelled the world, played in orchestras and performed in many famous women's bands including with Ivy Benson. Reg was brought up by his grandparents and adored by his grandmother. His grandfather, Tom Calvert, was clever, an engineer and musician. Their home was often turned into an engineering workshop as Tom developed his 'big' invention, to build a machine that could work on centrifugal energy. Reg often helped his grandfather and developed an inquisitive mind and basic understanding of engineering.


By the age of 17, Reg was working as a ladies hairdresser and in the evenings, played in a little band and also compered ballroom dances. 

He had first glimpsed Dorothy through a window in the office of the local doctor's surgery and thought she was an angel. For months she refused to go out with him but her fate was sealed when she went with a friend to see Joe Loss and his orchestra perform at the Huddersfield Baths.Reg was compere and he saw her in the audience. He persuaded her to dance and within a week, he had proposed. Unfortunately, Dorothy's mother took an immediate dislike to Reg and forbade her to see him again. Determined and headstrong, Dorothy ran away from home. They married June, 1946 aged just 18. 

Reg was conscripted into the army and with no home and little money, he bought an old bus and converted it into a caravan. Reg tried many ways to earn a living, which included making popcorn and sweets. It was hard after the war as there were few jobs. Eventually, he became a radio and television engineer. In the evenings he ran ballroom dances and played piano in a club. When Reg heard Bill Haley's 'Rock Around the Clock', he had a new dream, to bring Rock 'n' Roll to England. There were few musicians who knew how to 'rock' so Reg discovered young boys, guitarists, drummers and singers, dressed them like stars and trained them how to perform. They toured England's dance halls.  There had never been anything like it and soon others were copying him!

www.fillongley-publications.com

ORDER a signed copy - and free UK postage direct from Fillongley Publications

By cheque to : Fillongley Publications, The Old Granary, Fillongley, Nr. Coventry  CV7 8PB 

By PAYPAL: (direct to the author) payment to email account: susan.k.moore @ btinternet.com

POPCORN TO ROCK 'N' ROLL (Book one of trilogy) Paperback First Edition £7.50. // Hardback First Edition £14.

LIFE AND DEATH OF A PIRATE (Books two and three of trilogy) Hardback Special First Edition: £16.50

Book One: Popcorn to Rock 'n' Roll by S.K. Moore 

Paperback and Kindle eBook available from Amazon 

                                                          

LIFE AND DEATH OF A PIRATE

by S. K. Moore

Special First Edition hardback 474 pages, includes over 150 photographs

For free UK postage, order direct from Fillongley Publications www.fillongley-publications.com

  or online from Amazon Books www.amazon.co.uk  *Details of other stockists below.

(Book cover shows Reg Calvert and Screaming Lord Sutch on the Shivering Sands Towers, abandoned wartime forts in the Thames Estuary, May 1964)


TRILOGY

BOOK ONE:  Popcorn to Rock 'n' Roll 

1946 - 1960 Reg and Dorothy Calvert marry when they are just 18 and with no home and little money, Reg bought an old bus and converted it into a caravan. They travelled south from Huddersfield to Southampton and lived in an apple orchard for 3 years. Reg tried many ways to earn a living including making popcorn and sweets. Life was not easy. When Reg first heard Bill Haley's 'Rock Around the Clock', he has a dream. To bring Rock 'n' Roll to England. (And he does). (Kindle eBook, Paperback from Amazon Books. Hardback only from www.fillongley-publications.com)

BOOK TWO: Clifton Hall - School of Rock 

1961 - 1964 After much turmoil and some success, Reg and Dorothy Calvert buy Clifton Hall near Rugby. With them comes an entourage of young singers and musicians and it soon becomes known as a 'school of rock'. There are strict house rules which include no alcohol and no girls back, but there is music, much fun and outrageous antics, laughter and heartbreak. A fast moving story of behind the scenes life in the entertainment businesses. There is sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, but not in the way you would imagine. Many famous stars visit the house including Jerry Lee Lewis and the Beatles. (Kindle eBook. 'Clifton Hall - School of Rock' is included in the Hardback Special Edition 'Life and Death of a Pirate' from Amazon Books - see below for more info.)

BOOK THREE: Shivering Sands - 1960s Pirate Radio

1964 - 1967. Sometimes real life can be stranger than fiction. This book is often funny but with a tragic turn of events. Woven into the tapestry of Reg and Dorothy Calvert's lives are the stories of the musicians, singers, pirate radio disc jockeys and engineers. Within the pages you will meet many characters including Sceaming Lord Sutch and Reggie Kray. What begins with a dream ends as a murder mystery. Well researched account, written as a novel. Love, laughter, music, intrigue, murder and mystery. Even today, there are unanswered questions. A gripping read. (Kindle eBook. Shivering Sands is included in the Hardback Special Edition 'Life and Death of a Pirate'. Available from Amazon Books, Radio Caroline Web Store, Fillongley Publications www.fillongley-publications.com and some bookshops. Also in some libraries.)

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POST Cheque to: Fillongley Publications, Old Granary, Castle Close, Fillongley CV7 8PB  

By PAYPAL payment direct to author's account: susan.k.moore @ btinternet.com

By BACs - please request details from Fillongley Publications email fillongleypub @ btinternet.com 


BOOK ONE

POPCORN TO ROCK 'N' ROLL

Includes many photographs. Paperback: £7.50 Hardback: £14.00 Also available as Kindle eBook 

ORDER direct: www.fillongley-publications.com with free UK postage. Or online from Amazon http://www.amazon.co.uk


BOOK TWO

CLIFTON HALL School of Rock 

by S.K. Moore

  • Kindle eBook from Amazon.com  approx £3.20. Includes photographs : Included in special hardback edition 'Life and Death of a Pirate' with over 150 photos. 

CLIFTON HALL - School of Rock 'n' Roll The second book in the trilogy and one of the most unusual stories you will read, based on real people and events. A 'social history' of the 1960's. Yes, there are drugs, sex and rock 'n' roll, but not in the way you would expect it.




1961, Reg and Dorothy Calvert move with their daughters from Southampton to Clifton Hall near Rugby. With them came an entourage of young musicians and singers. It did not take long for the inhabitants of Clifton-upon-Dunsmore to realise there were strange 'goings on' at the Hall. Rumour and gossip were rife. Who were these bohemian young men appearing in their village? Behind the fun, laughter, glitz and glamour of show business, lies a powerful love story.

  • 39 images/photographs included, some never before published including photos of the Beatles and Tanya Day. 

 

 

Photo above 2012.  50 year reunion of some of the 'boys' (dance hall stars) 

Barney Peacock (drummer), Tony Burnett (drummer), Colin Angel/Wilsher (Singer and guitarist).  Susan Moore (author and artist, daughter of Reg & Dorothy Calvert.)  Danny Storm  / David Hurran (singer). Glen Dale / Richard Garforth (singer).  Geoff Chalk (guitarist).  Don Ker (guitarist).  Johnny Martin /Martin Upperdine, (singer and guitarist). 

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LIFE AND DEATH OF A PIRATE

STAGE PLAY Now available for theatre groups to perform, with or without music, projected images etc.  Flexible script to suit the ability or theatre group and actors available.

Many things have been written about the 1960s.  Most of it myth. This is a true story that will hold your audience from beginning to end.

THREE NEW PLAYS   based on the life and times of REG CALVERT 

 

(Top) June 1946 Reg and Dorothy Calvert on their wedding day. 


For more information and details about the plays visit:

 https://sites.google.com/site/regcalvertplays/home 

DEATH OF A PIRATE

A new play - double bill - combining two plays, 'School of Rock & Roll' and 'Death of a Pirate'     With 1960's band:  Pinkerton's Assorted Colours - plus - projected archive photographs was performed on 4th November at the Abbey Theatre, Nuneaton.

Rehearsal Filmed - and BBC Midlands Today featured the play and interview with Susan Moore on 3rd November 2011.

For photographs from the play - see PHOTOS from play page.

More information contact: susan _ calvert@ btinternet.com

FOR DETAILS TO PERFORM THE PLAY/S - contact:

Email: fillongleypub @ btinternet.com 

For more information about Southampton Bands, Reg & Dorothy Calvert and other pop groups and Reg Calvert visit: www.davidstjohn.co.uk