With every new town built after the Second World War came new people.
And with new people came new hobbies, new clubs and new ideas.
The Crawley Barbershop Harmony Club was one of those groups and – unlike the legions of WIs and cricket teams which popped up all over the place – this club could boast it was the first of its kind.
Formed in 1965 in a house in Parkway, Pound Hill, the group was the brainchild of Harry Danser and was pulled together after Crawley was paid a visit by the East York Barbershoppers, from Toronto.
They performed in four-part pure harmony – unaccompanied, of course – and boy could they sing!
They even paid a return visit to Canada.
These pictures were supplied by John Noyce, whose enthusiasm for the group has not dulled even after 50 years.
He joined the group with the intention of singing bass – but so did everyone else and John was happy to stretch his vocal cords as a tenor.
Unfortunately, he was working when the group headed for Canada.
John gave a potted history of the origins of barbershop.
It seems barber shops were the coffee shops of their day – everyone went there for a chat and to put the world to rights.
While snipping away at people’s locks, barbers were known to entertain with a song or two.
According to the Barbershop Harmony Society, the origins can be traced back to Elizabethan England where one barber in particular became quite an accomplished musician, even keeping a lute on the wall for the use of customers.
While barbershop died out in the UK, it took off in a big way in the USA, starting in the south before making its way across the country.
Finally, John and his talented friends brought it back to the shores of Blighty!
It’s nice to be able to add another achievement to Crawley’s claims to fame.