Earl Kay

Scope and Content

Born June 1918. Parents in theatre - touring. Father stage-manager, mother dancer. 1st job aged 14 years: Revelation Suitcase Co, Power Road. Made leather handles - 50-60 daily. Hours 9am-6pm. 10/6 weekly. Left in 1932. Went to job in Great West Road, making grease guns (?) Dull job but better money - 14/- weekly. Chiswick Empire - various jobs including walk on job as page-boy. Run by Anew McMaster with anthony Quayle, Sybil Thorndike. Call-boy. In variety shows, operated numbers on proscenium arch. Wages 10/- weekly. Sybil Thorndike tipped him 3/6 weekly. Worked in various shops including butcher's 8am-8pm. Baker's round on a Saturday. Also worked at Forths green grocers. Leisure pursuits: Cinema, charge 1/6 Commodore in Hammersmith - two films, news, cartoon. One of first cinemas to have complete air-conditioning. Harry Davidson's orchestra played in interval. Cinema organ. Learned to dance - not very good at it! Transport: "Trams and trolleys" Run from Chiswick to Westminster - 1d. was closed. Bus fares - Chiswick to Hammersmith 1 1/2d in the '30s. Green Line buses to Windsor & Reading. Gunnersbury Museum - saw penny farthing and a coach. No extensive museum. 1939 War service. Training at Blandford. 2 weeks after Dunkirk still in France. 1935 - Aunt & Uncle won the pools: £2,200. Aunt bought large house for £1,200. Other relatives moved in. "Once you left school the only value as far as the family was conceerned was to get a job, earn money, make yourself useful, buy yourself clothing at the 50 shilling tailors - mostly sports jackets and grey flannels."
Suggests getting in touch with Chiswick Library for Chiswick Empire memorabilia.