Brownhills Carnival remembered: Tower Hill return please, and a single for the wife

A couple of weeks ago, old pal of the blog Lisa Ashby sent in a wonderful article with some great supporting pictures showing her involvement in the Brownhills Carnivals of the late 80s and early 90s.

There was a very positive reaction to Lisa’s warm and evocative recollections, and I’m pleased to be able top feature the second part today, detailing Lisa’s memories of the 1993 and 1996 parades.

Lisa of course sent in the wonderful footage of Reg Morris eating daffodils and also undertook the remarkable photo restoration for reader Janet I posted a few weeks ago.

We have surprisingly little material relating to local carnivals – we have the early Pritchard footage of course, so wonderfully lit up by Great Grandfather of the blog Aer Reg Fullelove, and the stunning gallery by Peter Booth, but not much else.

Thanks to Lisa who’s contributed so much to the blog over the years – she really is a star.

If you can add to it, or have any other material you’d like to share, I’d love to see it. Comment here or mail me: BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks!

Lisa Ashby wrote:

1996: Putting the float together

Hi Bob,

Following on from my first article, here are some photos from the 1993 and 1994 carnivals which the B-CASS Disabled Centre entered.

In 1993 we decided to do a float based on the Court of Henry VIII. For weeks leading up to the carnival my mum, Miriam Downes and I made the costumes. We scoured all the charity chops and jumble sales we could to find any curtains pretty enough to make the dresses. I made the ladies’ hats by covering cardboard in material that matched the dresses and sewing them to a load of headbands we had bought from Ray’s Indoor Market. We spent an awful lot of time on the costumes to make sure they looked authentic and just as long getting the float decorations ready.

Our friend and long term member, Susan Capewell, wanted to play Henry VIII and as she was in a wheel chair my dad used a child’s wooden cot to make a frame that went around her and we decorated it to look like a throne. As Sue had to look the like Henry, she had her hair cut and we saved the clippings and on carnival day we glued them to her face to make a beard. I made her costume out of velvet and she truly looked amazing. Her husband, David Capewell, played Cardinal Wolsey.

So on carnival day, after all the hard work we had put in, we were very disappointed to be given 2nd place. We were told later that it was because we had ‘hired our costumes’. Although I was a bit put out that we had come 2nd because of ‘hired costumes’ I couldn’t help but feel a bit fabulous that they thought our hand sewn costumes looked so professional.

In 1996, which was the last we entered, and may be the last Brownhills Carnival, we finally won with our King Arthur float. Our friend Jean Taundry played King Arthur and I created her ‘chain mail’ outfit my knitting her a tunic, seemed like a great idea at the time, but with the blazing sun, Jean was cooking under her costume. My dad made Excalibur and my mum made a ‘rock’ cunningly crafted from a box, chicken wire and papier mache. Not much planning was needed for this float as the decorations and dresses were salvaged from previous carnivals.

Apart from Arthur’s costume, all that had to be made was Merlin’s (played by Paul Burton) costume and I again hand sewed it and made the beard, Merlin’s staff was a branch off one of the trees which we had cut down as it hung over our centre in Lindon Drive.

Hope you and your readers found this interesting, it has been great revisiting all those great times.

All the best,
Lisa

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One Response to Brownhills Carnival remembered: Tower Hill return please, and a single for the wife

  1. David Evans says:

    Hi Bob
    a huge thankyou to Lisa…these are super photos and are greatly appreciated..I love those costumes!
    kind regards
    David

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