The Music of Portsmouth in 1944

January 1st 1944 - Saturday and at the Kings Theatre in Albert Road, was the Pantomime Cinderella, including a flying ballet. At the Coliseum in Edinburgh Road, a Variety show featuring the Monarchs of Music. At the Empress Ballroom at North End Junction, Jimmy Harris and his band with vocalist Gerry Leach. At the Angerstein Hall there was dancing on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. At the Conservative Dance Hall at the corner of Hampshire Street and Fratton Road, was the music of Robbie's Dance Band. Wally Fry and his Collegians were playing on the South Parade Pier. At the Trades Hall Cosham, Billy Bennett's Brilliant Band. Kimbells in Osborne Road also advertised 'Dancing' and in Europe, the war continued.
January 3rd 1944 - Alan Green's Band could be found playing at the Ambassador Ballroom Cosham, later called Odeon, more recently a Bingo Hall.
January 6th 1944 - Brian and his Gaiety Club Band.
January 7th 1944 - A concert at the Milton hospital, with pocket subrete Katie Pearson.
January 8th 1944 - At the Coliseum a variety show with ventriloquist Arthur Worsley.
January 11th 1944 - The Tramway Hall in Stubbington Ave dancing to PCPDB (Portsmouth City Police Dance Band)
January 12th 1944 - Miss Elsie Dines and her Dynamites were entertaining the forces at the YMCA.
January 17th 1944 - Irene Scharrer gave the first of a series of piano concerts at the Kings Theatre for the Portsmouth Music Club.
January 23rd 1944 - The Gaiety cinema at the Albert Road/Highland Road junction had the Bob Hope and Bing Crosby film "Road to Singapore".
January 21st 1944 - On South Parade Pier Jack Payne and his Orchestra with vocalists Carroll Carr, Betty Webb and Peter Howard played at the Police Ball.
January 24th 1944 - Radio favourites Beryl Orde and Monty Rey were at the Kings Theatre.
January 28th 1944 - Nancarrows Band played at the Rathgar Hall, London Road, North End. At the Regent and Plaza cinemas George Formby was in "Bell Bottom George". Piano wizard Charlie Kunz was at the Kings Theatre. Unity Hall Arundel Street, dancing to Brian(late of Jack Payne and Jack Hylton's bands) and his Gaiety Club Band. Conservative Dance Hall Fratton Road, "Always a jolly time with Robbie's Dance Band".
January 29th 1944 - Dancing at the Co-operative Hall Garnier Street. Wally Fry and his Collegians at South Parade Pier. Billy Bennett's Brilliant Band at the Trades Hall, Cosham. Jimmy Harris and his band with Gerry Leach, late of Oscar Rabin's band, at the Angerstein Hall Monday and Wednesday for 1/6d and Saturday 2/-.
February 1st 1944 - At the Ambassador Ballroom Cosham, Alan Green's band with Lew Harris, and hostess Eilene McCaffery.
February 2nd 1944 - Dancing at the Empress Ballroom at North End, Kimbells Osborne Road and the Unity Hall, South Parade Pier with Wally Fry, Jimmy Harris Band at Angerstein Hall, Billy Bennett at the Trades Hall Cosham, Robbie's Dance band at the Conservative Dance Hall, Fratton Road. Alan Green and Lew Harris at the Ambassador Ballroom Cosham, action at all these on a Wednesday night.
February 5th 1944 - Cooperative laundry Dance at the Westbury Hall Fareham in aid of the Red Cross prisoners of War Fund.
February 6th 1944 - At the Savoy café, Fairway Follies in a grand variety Show. Wilfred Hubbard(card wizard), Lillian Dunkley (pianist and entertainer), Alice Cotty (comedienne), Charles Harris(compère and humorist) and Elise Relpah at the piano. The Casuals, Portsmouth Civil Defence Concert Party, paid another visit to a naval establishment on the South coast and gave a two hour non stop variety concert to a packed theatre. At the Kings, Issy Bonn, Radio start of mirth and melody.
February 15th 1944 - Swingcopators playing for dancing at the St Mary's Institute. A concert for Services specially invited TocH, at the Masonic Hall, Cosham by Madame Cannaway's concert party.
February 19th 1944 - Dancing at the Tramway Club, North End, opposite Empress Garage, to the Swingcopators sweet and swing music band.
February 29th 1944 - Dancing at the Tramway Hall, North End. The Swingcopators Rhythm Band.
March 1st 1944 - Nancorrows Trio playing at the Under 35's club at the Temple of Spiritualism, 73a Victoria Road South.
March 5th 1944 - Portsmouth Jazz Club at the Conservative Club Fratton Road, presents Tony Cobden, followed by a jam session.
March 9th 1944 - Richard Tauber at the Kings Theatre.
March 14th 1944 - The Unity Four Band were at the Unity Hall in Arundel Street.
March 17th 1944 - St Patrick Day Dance at Unity Hall with Brian and his Gaiety Club Band, the snappiest, swingingest band in the South.
March 17th 1944 - At the Conservative Dance Hall Robbie's Dance Band Monday to Friday 1/3d, Saturday 1/6d. Dance halls ran from 7pm to 10pm.
March 20th 1944 - At the Coliseum, Ralph Sutton, Britain's Premier Light Comedian and full supporting cast at 5.10pm and 7pm.
March 21st 1944 - A Sunbeams Concert at 202 New Road adults 1/s kiddies 6d.
March 22nd 1944 - Portsmouth Jazz Club presented three guests, Derrick Stewart Baxter, John Von Prague and Horace Harris, there was a jam session to end the evening.
March 24th 1944 - Friday dance at St Saviours Hall in Twyford Avenue.
March 25th 1944 - at the Royal Engineers Drill Hall, Commercial Road, a 7pm to 10pm dance for a 'Jolly time and spot prizes'!
March 28th 1944 - Beginners ballroom dancing classes at the Wellington Hall Wellington Street, near Russell Street.
April 1st 1944 - Jimmy Harris at the Angerstein Hall. Conservative Dance Hall Robbie's Dance Band
April 7th 1944 - Good Friday. Haydn's the Creation at London Road Baptist Church, soloists with the Portsmouth Glee Club. South Parade Pier recommencement of concerts, Harry Fryer and his BBC Orchestra.
April 8th 1944 - Len Ashdown and his Rhythm Aces at St Mary's Institute.
April 9th 1944 - At the South Parade Pier, Oscar Rabin and his Band.
April 15th 1944 - At the Coliseum Gloria Gaye and her all-ladies band. Dancing at Somerset Road's British Restaurant (The Strand) with Wally Fry.
April 16th 1944 - At the South Parade Pier, Lou Preager and his Orchestra with Edna Kaye, Paul Rich and the Swingtette.
April 21st 1944 - Dancing every Friday at the Rathgar Hall, London Road (opposite Ophir Road).
April 22nd 1944 - Gladys Sewell, Portsmouth's own Star light Comedienne appears at the Coliseum. Conservative Dance Hall, Robbie's Dance Band
April 24th 1944 - Re-opening of the Oddfellows Hall with dancing to the Melody Makers.
April 26th 1944 - At the Wesley Central Hall, Salute the Soldier Rally and variety entertainment with the band of the Royal Marines.
April 27th 1944 - The New Orleans Jazz Band at St Mary's Institute.
May 1st 1944 - Dance at the Clifton Ballroom, Kimbells, Osborne Road.
May 2nd 1944 - Re-opening of St Patrick's Hall Winter Road with dancing to the Paramount Band. At the Theatre Royal, Arthur Askey in a production called Bees in Paradise. The Portsmouth Jazz Club had a recital called 'Boogie for the beasts, or passions and their styles. In attendance was Bill Cole amongst others.
May 3rd 1944 - Alan Green, Ambassador Ballroom, Wally Fry, British Restaurant, Billy Bennett, Cosham Trades Hall, Jimmy Harris, Oddfellows Hall, Robbie's Dance Band, Conservative Dance Hall, Unity Four Band, Unity Hall. Kimbells, Osborne Road, dancing.
May 4th 1944 - Brian and his Gaiety Club Band at Unity Hall.
May 5th 1944 - At the Kings Theatre, on two pianos, Rawitz and Landauer to a packed house.
May 6th 1944 - Fleetlands Sports Club hold a dance at Kimbells Osborne Road. Dancing at St Saviours Hall Strode Road, Twyford Avenue.
May 8th 1944 - The Happy Go Lucky Concert Party entertained at the Fratton Trades hall and included a comedian, novelty whistler, conjurer and singer.
May 15th 1944 At the Coliseum, Dorothy Squires and Billy Reid. The Melody Makers playing for dancing at the Oddfellows Hall.
May 19th 1944 - The Portsmouth Dancing Club, 7pm to 10pm, at the Victory Hall, Fratton Road.
May 19th 1944 - The Portsmouth Dancing club 7pm to 10pm at the Co-operative Hall Fratton Road.
May 24th 1944 - The Portsmouth Glee Club perform 'Maritana' at the Central Hall Fratton Road.
May 28th 1944 - Evelyn Laye at the Kings Theatre with Mr Jetsom.
May 23rd 1944 - Dancing at the Tramway Hall to Brian and his Orchestra. At the Empress Ballroom, North End, dancing to the new 9 piece augmented Band.
May 25th 1944 - Under 35 Club dancing to the Police Band at the Temple of Spiritualism, 73a Victoria Road South.
May 28th 1944 - At the Drill Hall in Hampshire Terrace, the RAF Dance band for 1/6d single 2/6d double.
May 29 1944 - Jimmy Harris at the Angerstein Hall. Cosham Trades Hall has Billy Bennett. Robbie's Dance Band at the Conservative Dance Hall. Alan Green at the Ambassador Ballroom. The Celebrated Portsmouth Swing and Sweet Tempo Band play at the Petersfield Town Hall.
June 3rd 1944 - Matinee dance at The Oddfellows Hall from 2-30pm for 6d.
June 4th 1944 - Buckland Congregational Church, a music lovers evening with the Stringer Ensemble.
June 6th 1944 - Bill Cole and his Clubmen at the Tramways Hall North End.
June 7th 1944 - At the Angerstein Hall, The Jimmy Harris Swingtette.
June 12th 1944 - Hilsea Lido Café, Brian and his Gaiety Club Band.
June 13th 1944 - International ballet from the Savoy Theatre London for five nights and three matinees at the Kings Theatre. At the Tramway Hall, Brian and his Carnival Club Band and at the Hilsea Lido Café, Brian and his Gaiety Club Band.
June 14th 1944 - Bill Cole and his Clubmen were placed 3rd in the Kodak South of England Swing band Championship at Harrow. Nelson Peters won the award for the best bass player in the competition and Erick Stroud (vibes) was highly commended as was the rest of the band.
June 16th 1944 - At Petersfield Town Hall, dancing to Harry Sutton's Portsmouth Band.
June 17th 1944 - Harry Lester and his Hayseeds at the Coliseum. At the Kings Theatre, Younkmand and his Famous Czardas Orchestra.
June 24th 1944 - In a fête at Wymering Manor ground with cabaret and dancing turns by the Melody Makers.
June 27th 1944 - The Florence Greaves Singers perform at the the Queens Hall, Buckland Municipal Restaurant in aid of Comforts for our invasion wounded. Bill Cole and his Clubmen appear at the Tramway Hall, North End, admission 1/6d.
July 1st 1944 - Albert Road Conservative Hall re-opens with dancing.
July 5th 1944 - The Florence Greaves Singers perform at the Trinity Methodist School Hall in Albert Road with Donald Cox, Baritone.
July 15 1944 - Bill Cole and his Clubmen play at the Royal Engineers Drill Hall in aid of the Red Cross and Prisoners of War fund.
July 22nd 1944 - Felix Mendelssohn and his Hawaiian Serenaders appear at the Kings Theatre
July 24th 1944 - Dancing to the New Cosmo Band at the Rathgar Hall.
July 26th 1944 - At the Angerstein Hall, Jimmy Harris presents the New Orleans on Wednesday and Saturday.
August 19th 1944 - "Rose Marie" with Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy at the Savoy, Apollo and Carlton cinemas.
August 24th 1944 - Dancing every Thursday at Milton Church hall.
August 30th 1944 - The Portsmouth Music Club give a classical concert with Helen Hoskin (contralto). Bill Cole and his Clubmen play at the Rugby Camp in Copnor Road.
September 4th 1944 - At the Kings Theatre Hermione Baddley and Leslie Henson in Africa Stars.
September 11th 1944 - At the Trades Hall Cosham, there is a Foxtrot Contest. Wally Fry and his Collegians return to nightly weekday dancing at the South Parade Pier. It seems their residency at the British Restaurant is finished.
September 15th 1944 - At the British Restaurant Havant Road Drayton, in aid of the National Fire Service Benevolent Fund, the with National Fire Service C Div Dance Band.
September 24th 1944 - At the Kings Theatre, a municipal concert by the Royal Air Force Symphony Orchestra. The Portsmouth Dance Club have Frank Isherwood and Ivy Radley giving ballroom dance instructions to members. A small ad in the Evening News. Open for good engagements only, Black and White Deadbeats with exceptional crooner; all experienced profs, microphone essential. Box News Office.
September 28th 1944 - At the Trades Club Cosham, Nibbs and Scott Sports Club Dance with Billy Bennett.
October 3rd 1944 - At the Kings Theatre, the Portsmouth City Police 1944 Revue. The Dockyard Home Guard hold their annual dance at the Wessex Drill Hall with dancing to Madame Courtney's Dance Band. Wally Fry is at the South Parade Pier each weekday evening. Empress Ballroom Dancing Monday to Saturday to the new augmented 9 piece band.
October 4th 1944 - In the classified column a message from "Brian" about his birthday party at the lido. The famous Gaiety club Band have been engaged, the original orchestrations of many of the greatest "hits" of the decade. He also added a heartfelt message of thanks to his friends and supporters and pays tribute to the unselfish endeavours of all his bands.
October 7th 1944 - The Portsmouth Jazz club at the Conservative Club in Fratton Road present recording of the Eddie Condon Jazz concert, direct from America, followed by a jam session.
October 8th 1944 - At the Kings Theatre, the band of the Royal Marines conducted by Captain Vivian Dunn with Maura Lyman at the piano. The Portsmouth Dance Club at the Conservative Club Fratton Road with instruction from Frank Isherwood and Ivy Bradley.
October 14th 1944 - Dancing every Saturday at the Wellington Hall. The Recorded Music Society meet at the Carnegie Library Fratton Road. At the Chapman's Hall in Kingston Crescent, dancing to Eric Madison's Band.
October 16th 1944 - Melody Makers at the Odd Fellows Hall.
October 17th 1944 - At the Angerstein Hall, Jimmy Harris presents the New Orleans.
October 26th 1944 - At the Kings Theatre, The Carl Rosa Opera Company, with Australian Joan Hammond, performing Madam Butterfly, The Tales of Hoffmann, and La Traviata. At the Coliseum, Pin-up Parade with Cyril Dowler.
November 11th 1944 - Portsmouth Police hold a dance at the Masonic Hall Cosham with music from the City Police Orchestra under the direction of PC Nash.
November 15th 1944 - Portsmouth City Police Choir sing at the Wesley Central Hall, Fratton Road.
November 16th 1944 - On South Parade Pier, the third annual National Fire Service Ball featuring the National Fire service Southern Regional Dance Orchestra.
November 18th 1944 - Portsmouth Choral Union at the Copnor Methodist Hall, tickets from Weston Hart, North End.
November 19th 1944 - At Cosham Trades Hall dancing on Wednesdays and Saturdays to recorded music.
November 24th 1944 - Royal Artillery Ball on South Parade Pier dancing to the Royal Artillery Salisbury Plain Dance band.
December 4th 1944 - At the Kings Theatre, Richard Tauber, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth and Rawicz and Landauer, on separate nights.
December 7th 1944 - At the Empress Ballroom North End, Prince-Cox and his Co-operative Dance band Monday to Friday 1/6d. Saturday matinee at 1/- and Saturday evening at 2/-d.
December 9th 1944 - Farewell night from Brian and his Gaiety Club Band at Hilsea lido Ballroom to take up a residency 'elsewhere'. South Parade Pier have 'Collegians' and 'New Orleans', two bands in two ballrooms through December. At the Trades Union Club hall, Southampton Road, Cosham, dancing Wednesday and Saturday to the Savoy Dance Orchestra with Eric Maddison.
December 12th 1944 - Bill Cole and his Clubmen (3rd in the 1944 South of England Dance Band Contest) take up a residency at the Hilsea Lido Cafe. At the Portsea Parish Hall the Swingcopators from 7pm to 10pm for 1/6d. The Manhattan dance band were advertising for bookings in the Evening News with a box number.
December 15th 1944 - Brian and his Carnival Band appear at the Unity Hall in Arundel Street.
December 17th 1944 - The Portsmouth Jazz Club at the Conservative Hall Fratton Road present BBC Critic Peter Tanner and 'An evening with Teddy Bunn', followed by a jam session with Phil Bryant(trumpet) and David Channon (electric guitar).
December 22nd 1944 - Advert in the Evening News, Wanted, Dance musicians apply Len Johnson, Clarence Barracks.
December 29th 1944 - Advert in the Evening News, Five Star Swingers will make your dance go with a swing, Phone Portsmouth 5689.
December 30th - At the Angerstein Hall Jimmy Harris presents Alf Hallman and his band.
December 24th 1944 - At St Mary's Hall opposite St Mary's Church, with Billy Bennett's Dance Band augmented with the Hants County Accordion Club.

NOTE: This is an edited version of Mick Cooper's research. The full version can be found at Mick Cooper's website