Dec. 23, 1948: a milestone day
William Fear completes English theatre training
“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.