A Pavillion Full of Pierrots

It is getting on for more than a century that the Ham and Eggs (pictured below left) once stood on the New Brighton seafront. On a bright summer afternoon shortly after the turn of the last century the crowds were paying threepence and sixpence to enter the large tent which housed a pierrot show (pictured below right).

Inside the tent, pitched in a spot now occupied by the New Palace, there was a wooden stage and tinkling piano. The performers wore pom-poms, ruffles and frills. They sang the hit songs of the Edwardian music hall.

Close by, to the left, was the Ham and Egg Parade. It stretched along the sea front from the corner of Victoria Road. It was to be demolished in 1907.

Virginia Road is in the background of the picture. It was to be many years before a bus terminus and buildings obscured its fine view of the Mersey.

There's a penny postcard stand on the left, with a be-capped salesman standing beside it. A notice on the stand carries the information that he is available to take the photographs of visitors.

There is a real atmosphere of summer about the picture. The ladies wear large floppy hats and fussy bonnets. Lots of the men sport jolly straw boaters.

There are babies in large-wheeled prams. there are boys and girls in holiday dress. They look lively and cheerful and all-out for fun.

The pierrots - George Somebody-or-Other's - must have been pretty good, for the queue to get into their rent is a long one, stretching to the right.

Almost in the centre of the crowd are a nattily dressed young man and a white-bloused young lady. Sweethearts, I wonder? Or a couple about to start a holiday romance?

The nice thing about old pictures, snapshots from the past, is that one can with impunity and pleasure invent one's own stories about the people in them.

The little boy in the left foreground looks a bit ill at ease in his white pants and satin blouse. He would probably dearly love to shed his finery and get down to digging in the nearby sands.

The lady with her back to the camera is pushing a sleeping baby. Her parasol hangs from the handle of the pram. She is dressed in a smart two-piece affair with the top half cut on slightly military lines. her hat is decorated with a large ostrich plume.

They look nice people. The Wallasey to which they belonged was quiet and slow-moving.

it hadn't yet seen a motor bus. it hadn't yet got a massive promenade. its summer pierrots hadn't yet heard of 'pop' or microphones. Lucky Wallasey! Lucky people!

Ham and Eggs Parade, New Brighton Pierrots at New Brighton