Annual explosions caused damage to roof of pub in town
THE current interest in the 1918 Armistice commemoration has brought back memories of my early life in the market place.
My grandparents returned from nearly 20 years in Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) in 1915.
My father, Rudyard Mee, was then 18 and came back to join the Army.
On Armistice Day in 1918 the two minutes’ silence was marked by the firing of maroons at the start and finish.
They were fired from the flat roof of the Red Lion Hotel by employees of John West the Ironmonger in Derby Street (my grandmother’s brother).
This set the scene for a number of years and I remember hearing the loud bangs while I was at school in Stockwell Street.
Eventually, the practice had to be discontinued as the annual explosions on the hotel roof caused damage to the surface and it became expensive to repair!
During the succeeding years, my father provided a firework display from the roof every November 5 and crowds gathered in the Market Place to enjoy event.
However, the police took a dislike to the crowd of people that turned up and put a ban on this celebration for future years!
The hotel flat roof made it easy to hang bunting and other decorations during major national events for many years during my family’s ownership.
In the summer I used to sit up there doing my school homework and taking photographs of events in the Market Place below. Gerald Mee Leek