Grandad's Watton

The Brass Band

Bob combined his business life with an interest in music and some­ times you saw him in oily warehouse coat, puffing away at a cigarette while mending a puncture or fixing a chain, but at other times he could be found in gold-braided brass-buttoned splendour, conducting the Watton British Legion Brass Band. There were, of course, the usual little jibes about the band leader being the one who blew his cornet until he came to the bit he couldn't play and then he'd conduct, but Bob was a genial fellow, and not likely to be concerned at such friendly banter. There is reason to believe that there has been a band in Watton since the 18th century, and there is definite documentary proof of its activities in the middle of the 19th century. In our own time we owe much to men like Bob Kittell, Tom Garner, A. Gilbert, Vic Woods, Tom Emms and others who have ensured the band's contin­ ued existence. And now John Whalebelly is in charge of a young and talented band that is upholding the traditions of the past and offers much hope for the future.

Bob's business follows a pattern of continuous family involvement which is a recurring feature in the trading and commercial life of Watton. He retired when his son, Jeffrey returned after war-time service with the Army, and his grandson, Roger is now manager of Ling's, the firm which took over the business and whose extensive store stands on the site of Bob Kittell's original shop; this trend is often repeated in Watton High Street. The shop that Jack Cross built is now in the hands of his son and grandson. Nearly next door the Edwards family have been selling newspapers for well over a hundred years. Albert Edwards, whole tenure ran from 1919 to 1960 was the grandfather of Christopher the present owner, father of Ernest who has recently retired, and son of John, a gentleman with an eye for business and a wooden leg, who opened the shop midway through Queen Victoria's reign. Family interests in Durrants, and Samples extends to three generations and beyond, and, since the 1880's prac­tically every leaflet that has been distributed, every poster that has been displayed, every ticket and programme that has been sold has been printed by Harvey & Sons Ltd. This firm again follows the tradition with Mr. Sydney Harvey, grandson of one of the original partners directing the printing works, and his daughter involved in managing the shop and newspaper trade. Another member of the family, recently retired from the business is Mr. Wilfrid Harvey who shares with his father and grandfather a proud record in local government. Mr. E. Harvey was appointed Clerk to the Watton Council in 1895, Mr. E. A. Harvey in 1927, and Mr. Wilfrid Harvey in 1948, a family achievement which may well be unique.

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