From a very early age I went to activities that were run from the amenities within the hotel. I was in the pram when I first went to Life Boys which was held in the canteen on the first floor, where I remember a natural first impression of lots of rows of wooden tables with washable tops and wooden chairs with curved back rests, each with a small metal name plate on the back, the bobble pattern was nice to feel and an area in front of the fire escape door, that was shielded from view by a permanent screen. Before I was big enough to join in the games with the boys I would watch from the sidelines with my mum who was Captain, but by the age of five they had to put up with me taking a place in any team whose numbers needed making up.
The Life Boys went to camp, but before going each had to have a medical, which always took place in the office on the “other side” of the Canteen, usually out of bounds as this was where the serving area and the kitchen were situated. Here there were many tables in long rows, and it was here we always enjoyed our Christmas Party provided by the factory for all employee’s children. After eating we would go through to the “other side” to receive our presents, and I recall Father Christmas coming through the office to see us.
The canteen was also used by the Sunday School, Young Wives Club and Stamp collecting club. However the Film Club used the Managers Dining Room and on one occasion I and other members of our group dressed in character posed as models for them, I have the photograph of me as Charlie Chaplin.
The Girls Brigade and ballet class generally used the ballroom and our teachers would play the grand piano from the small stage. The polished parquet floor was great fun to slide on in ballet shoes if you could do so without getting caught. During the lesson one could see our footsteps building up a white dust as each one of us had to walk through the resin tray before dancing so we did not slip.
Barbara posing for the Camera Club, left, and performing in a show in the Cinema, right.