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A slice of living history; FREELANCE JOURNALIST AND LOCAL HISTORIAN MIKE POPPLEWELL DELVES INTO HIS OWN NEWSPAPER ARCHIVES AND BRINGS US THE NEWS - FROM 1934.

AONE bedroom bungalow is not the ideal place to house a newspaper collection spanning over 100 years but the inconvenience and lack of space does have its compensations at times if you have a fascination for the past.

The acquisition of a pile of Yorkshire Observers from the first half of the 1930s has proved particularly interesting and rewarding!

It is clearly a fascinating historical resource. In fact, it chronicles history in the making as well as an insight into life in the West Riding as well as both Britain and the world beyond during the sometimes turbulent inter war years.

Being Yorkshire based it is no surprise to see a proliferation of sporting news and after England's Cricket World Cup success, the Test Series against Australia, starting this week, the news coverage of the Headingley Test of 1934 looks certain to be equalled.

There was no shortage of attention back in the summer of 1934 when the Aussies visited our shores for the first post-Bodyline' encounter, for the 1932/33 winter tour of England to Australia for an Ashes series had been so controversial it almost led to a break in diplomatic relations between the two countries.

So, in 1934 there was a concerted effort to ensure there was a certain amount of bridge-building.

Free from the tactics that led to some serious injuries to the Australian batsmen in 32/33 the 1934 summer passed without any untoward incidents and Australian legend Don Bradman, later Sir Donald, 'made hay while the sun shone' - and it did shine!

On the morning of Monday July 23, The Don, as he was almost universally known, made the front page headlines in the Yorkshire Observer, as he stood on the brink of a new world record score and England were on the brink of defeat in the fourth Test, at Headingley.

Maurice Leyland, Hedley Verity and Bill Bowes were Yorkshire's representatives in this game but they failed to make much of an impact.

One local person who did make an impact on this Test was Brighouse and Yorkshire Ladies wicket keeper Mona Greenwood.

In the last few years we have seen a gradual rise to prominence of Womens Cricket, with women assuming the roles of commentators and pundits, but back in 1934 Mona, who later became Mrs Mona Bradbury, was already a cricket correspondent for the Yorkshire Observer with a daily column giving the readers A Woman's View of The Test. We were in the midst of a heatwave and the going was hard for England and Australia alike, but elsewhere there were stories of a death from a lightning strike in Paignton, and at the Healey Old Dam, Ossett, a 12 year old boy saved a friend from drowning after they had gone for a swim to cool down.

In the 'News from around the Ridings' the Y.O. reported a nasty accident involving 12 year old cyclist Kenneth Higgins, of 93 Wakefield Road, Huddersfield, who had been detained in the Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, with concussion, having been thrown from his bike after his front wheel had been caught in tramlines.

There was also some sad news of 63 year old John Whitwam, a labourer of 419 Manchester Road, Huddersfield, who had been found dead in his home by his daughter, three days earlier, with a cord tied around his neck and to a bed rail. The coroner's verdict was 'suicide while of unsound mind.' Mental Health concerns are clearly nothing new and, as a retired psychiatric nurse, one can't help asking 'just how do you actually prevent such tragedies?' There was brighter news at Golcar where the wedding of Reginald Andrew Mortimer to Hilda Senior at the Baptist Church. Andrew, as he was referred to in the Y.O., was 30 years old at the time and was said to be the youngest referee on the Football League list. He was the referee in the 1949 cup final between Wolves and Leicester City. A quick check of the records reveal that Reg, or Andrew, was to live until the year 2000 when he died in Huddersfield aged 96. A life that clearly ran into 'added time.'.

Apart from the obvious sporting interests in Huddersfield, like football, rugby and cricket, Huddersfield Town were one of the top football teams in the country in this era, the cinema was, arguably, the most popular form of entertainment at this time.

The Y.O. entertainment page gave a comprehensive round up of all that was on offer with, what is now, Kirklees housing no fewer than 27 cinemas across the district.

In Huddersfield itself this particular evening amongst the films on offer were, Fashions of 1934, starring William Powell and Bette Davis, at The Empire or The Invisible Man at The New Star. The Invisible Man, a story by HG Wells which subsequently gave rise to a TV series in the late 1950s, was notable for being the film debut of Claude Rains.

Among a string of films in a 40 year career Rains appeared in Cassablanca, The Greatest Story Every told, and starred in The Phantom of the Opera and though spending much of his life in Hollywood he was actually born in Clapham, South London.

One other film worth mentioning is Ever Since Eve, at The Princess, where Marion Davies, playing alongside Robert Montgomery, could be seen in her last ever film role.

She had 'other fish to fry' so to speak, for she was the mistress of Publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst for more than 30 years and led a very active social life right up to her death in 1961.
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jul 31, 2019
Words:939
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