Dec. 23, 1948: a mile­stone day

William Fear com­pletes English the­atre train­ing

The Amherst News - - REGIONAL - Pat Crowe is a mem­ber of the Springhill Her­itage Group. To learn more or read past ar­ti­cles of the Her­itage Cor­ner, visit www.springhill­her­

“It’s grand to be back,” said Bill Fear.

“Springhill is one of the best places to live in that I know, and with civic im­prove­ments al­ready com­pleted, the ones planned in the fu­ture and the new build­ings in the course of con­struc­tion – well it’s go­ing on to big­ger and bet­ter things.”

Fear, who re­cently re­turned from Eng­land, was em­ployed as a dis­penser in Withrow’s Drug Store prior to the Sec­ond World War, en­list­ing early in 1940 and go­ing over­seas with Cana­dian Gen­eral Hospi­tal with which unit he served in Eng­land and on the Con­ti­nent – it be­ing the first Cana­dian hospi­tal to land in France af­ter the in­va­sion. He con­tin­ued with No. 7 through to Ger­many, leav­ing in 1945 to re­turn to Canada on in­struc­tional Cadre, go­ing to the United States for train­ing in Pa­cific war­fare. As Fear said, “the Japs called it off and I was stranded in Bar­riefield.”

On his dis­charge in 1946 Fear re­turned to Eng­land that sum­mer to study dra­matic art, spend­ing the first year in Nor­wick in East Anglia study­ing at the academy un­der June Lupino – one of the fam­ily of the Fa­mous English Artist and also the cousin of the cel­e­brated film star Ida Lupino. He also had out­side classes in voice pro­duc­tion and cos­tume de­sign. That au­tumn he was for­tu­nate to be al­lowed into re­hearsals at the Mad­der­mar­ket The­atre, the home of the Nor­wick play­ers, un­der the di­rec­tion of their founder and pro­ducer, W. Nu­gent Mouck, O.B.E. The Mad­der­mar­ket has a rep­u­ta­tion and Mouck had been a pro­ducer at the Shake­speare Memo­rial The­atre, Strat­ford-On-Avon. It was most in­struc­tive for Fear to ob­serve his pro­duc­tion meth­ods as the plays range from Greek to mod­ern.

Dur­ing the first term at the Academy Fear was chosen to play the lead in J.B. Pri­est­ley’s “Dan­ger­ous Cor­ner” and dur­ing the win­ter ap­peared in two Shake­spearean plays un­der W. Nu­gent Mouck “Othello” and “Much Ado About Noth­ing” and also G.B. Shaw’s “Cap­tain Brass­bound Con­ver­sion” pro­duced by Paul Smyth, for­merly with the Old Vic Com­pany. The next sea­son saw Fear at the Byer The­atre, Wells, Som­er­set, as busi­ness man­ager and scenic de­signer for the Mendip Play­ers and while there pro­duced suc­cess­fully St. John Irvine’s “The First Mrs. Fraser.”

Wells, he said, is half the size of Springhill but be­sides the By­ers has two cine­mas, a The­atre Club, Cam­era Club City Choir and other ed­u­ca­tional and cul­tural so­ci­eties. In­vited to stay on at the Byer he de­cided it was time to get home.

When asked what his plans were for the fu­ture, Fear said he would like to form a dra­matic group in town, with the idea that even­tu­ally it would be­come part of a civic club which would in­clude all the arts – mu­sic, paint­ing, drama, the dance, etc. He be­lieved an art cen­tre or civic cen­tre with a pub­lic li­brary and pub­lic read­ing room with fa­cil­i­ties to en­gage in com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties would be a great as­set.

Fear was quite in­sis­tent Springhill has the tal­ent and would be in­ter­ested to hear from any who are in­ter­ested in any of his ideas. Con­di­tions in Bri­tain Con­di­tions in Bri­tain were far from good, Fear said when ques­tioned by The Record. As a mat­ter of fact, they were lit­tle bet­ter than dur­ing the war, he said. There is lit­tle more va­ri­ety to the food, but it is not very good. Most of the good cloth­ing, he said, was be­ing ex­ported and what was on the Bri­tish market was of an in­fe­rior qual­ity and ex­pen­sive. Some things, like shoes and socks, were of the ra­tion list, but the ladies’ stock­ings were still ra­tioned.

While in the of­fice Fear made a con­tri­bu­tion to the United Emer­gency Fund for Bri­tain.

Dec. 30, 1948 – Proud of New Fire En­gine

The fire­men were proud of their new fire en­gine. It was a re­built job but looks as good as a new one and so far has given ex­cel­lent ser­vice. It was pur­chased from G.L. Glen­den­ning who se­cured it through war as­sets.

The equip­ment is mounted on a G.M.C. four-ton chas­sis, 180 inch wheel base and equipped by LaFrance. The ma­chine car­ries four alu­minum lad­ders, 45 ft., 30 ft, 15 ft and one in­side house lad­der. It has 1500 feet of two and a half inch hose and 250 feet of one inch hose, as well as 125 gal­lon booster tank and a 1000 gal­lon pump.

As is usual the equip­ment was painted a bright red and pre­sented a very at­trac­tive ap­pear­ance on the street. Harris Hunter, a veteran fire­man, was the driver and the ma­chine car­ried a large num­ber of fire­men and their equip­ment.

This ad­di­tional equip­ment strength­ened the work of the fire depart­ment for 1949 and af­forded the town bet­ter pro­tec­tion against fires.

Pat Crowe Her­itage Cor­ner

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