OldCiren - Cirencester, Gloucestershire, UK
Judging by the number of photos I have of formal Dinners at the Kings Head throughout the 50s, 60s and 70’s, I think Ciren people do dressing up very well. But aside from “ best bib and tuckers” there’s another bit of dressing up they do very well at too: Fancy dress.
Fancy dress was a part of my Ciren childhood and I well remember my Mother entering me in Carnival processions wearing outfits she had knocked up on her treadle Singer sewing machine. I don’t recall winning a prize, but I always won my Mother’s pride.
In choosing the pictures for this week’s Nostalgia page, I’ve had to careful in my choice. Times have changed in terms of what used to be acceptable and except in the living memory of those of us old enough to remember, or as captured in old photographs: Dressing up to represent stereotypical Slaves, Black people, or Oriental characters, to name but a few, are now strictly off limits at the very least, and in most cases now illegal. These were subjects that frequently made appearances in the Ciren Carnivals during the 60’s and 70’s . They were times when Floats frequently featured material which would now attract Police attention. At the time hey were not unlawful, and putting together a scene or tableau irrespective of the subject matter, was an important Community effort that connected and drew people together. The Scouts, Brownies, and certainly the Herd” from Adam Ford’s group of teenagers had themed floats, as did many pubs. The Golden Cross always had a float and I think it was in 1966 that they won an award for their “Hippy” theme which featured residents of Blackjack Street and Golden Cross regulars who used the float like a travelling extension of the Public bar; complete with barrels of Arkells beer and my Dad on the piano playing “Roll out the Barrel” .