Fwd: FW: Noatalgia 372 - The Fabulous Fifties in Guyana
- This is the history that is not in the history books.
Date: Tue, 22 Apr 2008 22:17:05 -0700
Subject: Fw: Noatalgia 372 - The Fabulous Fifties in Guyana
To: ;-----With Guyana celebrating it's 42nd Anniversary of Independence, May 26 ..I share this Nostalgia as a 'stimulant' to these 'topsy-turvy times'. Lets meet at LasLapLime, Toronto , Canada where my Pictorial Exhibition - of 1001 Guyana Delights - will be featured. Please introduce yourself. Ya think it easy!.........GODc.Nostalgia 372 The Fabulous Fifties in Guyana Godchin1@...It was the Best of Times. My great Grandfather boasted this at the commencement of the last century, when for $1.50 he bought his family house rations for a week. Now at the dawn of this new Millennium, my three sons with their streaming high tech Blueberry, relish their times as the best.On the contrary every generation looks upon their times and wonder what the world is coming to. Yet every generation survives for the next - to wring their hands in turn a few decades later. Mankinds ingenuity always overcomeFor me a Nostalgia Buff, I choose the Fabulous Fifties as the best of times in Guyana these last hundred years. Isnt it quite a coincidence that this was the Centerfold Decade a period when most of the Guyanese foremost Icons and Professionals today, were just completing their Public/Secondary education and everlasting footprints were already being carved.British Guiana, five years after the end of WWII was on the upbeat upswing, as the world recovered from the devastation of the global conflagration. At home our Water Street Shopping Center devastated by the 1945 Bookers Fire, was rebuilt as the best laid out shopping center in the Caribbean, with the magnificent edifices of Bookers Universal / Fogartys / RACS & Museum / General Post Office and Sanbach Parker.Booker's Fire, Feb 23rd, 1945 - resulting in the next decade of the best commercial Downtown Shopping Center, in the CaribbeanThe citizens welcomed the decade household proud when Pipe Water was introduced 1950 and stave Vats, plus the large public galvanized vats at St Georges roundabout, and Bel Air St, Albouystown were eliminated.The T & HD Railway Terminal, north Water St was a hive of rail shipping and trans-shipping activities, emanating from the wharves and stellings behind the Municipal Abbatoir a variety of essentials consigned to the entire coastline, and riverain areas.From this juncture to the Stabroek Market southward each lot - both sides of Water street was a thriving Business that reflected entreprenurial growth.Apart from the major businesses Bookers Sanbach Fogartys Bettencourt Weiting & Richter - there were several thriving family enterprises including D. M. Fernandes, John Fernandes Shipping Kirpalanis Acme Majeed Kawall Saraka Searchlight Singer - J P Santos Psaila A H & L Kissoon Beharrys Bata C. A. Phillips and Gajraj Thanis and Khouris. Sprostons expanded their dry docking / shipping service to include Tractor & Motor Retailing, on Lombard St.Must not forget Davsons, Werefords, Seabra, Daljeet, Sue Yong Chus and Seabras in New Amsterdam. As top calypsonian, John Slingshot Drepaul always complain Guyana is not Georgetown alone. Ya think it easyToolsie Persaud Mazaharally Nagasar Sawh Willems Timber expanded their logging forestry operations, with Kayman Sankar and De Roop Maraj excelling in rice production on the Essequibo Coast.Smaller enterprises incl Semco Rodrigues Ltd Affonsos Hacks Pradasco Lees Sookhoo Yong Hing Kon Sue Kwang Hing Mekdecis, Foremans, Royal Woodworking, Sue-A-Quan, Bernards, Pestano, Sardinha, and Oscar Green.Popular bakeries included Tangs Harlequin Mansell Dictator and Graham. Drug Stores included Bookers Tangs Bostwick Cendrecourt Carfitts - Ramcharrans Greens Lachmansinghs Twins Lachmansinghs Raymans Piggotts Burrowes and Jaikarrans. In Berbice there was Ganpatsinghs in New Amsterdam, and Swambers at Rosehall.Sheilas on America St was then the National for delicious Chinese Cuisine while Brown Betty was the local Mels Diner! Alya remember National on Robb St in the Sixties opposite Dr Alli Shaws Farm Fresh. Hell when a flourishing Chinese Restaurant migrates things really brown, and autumn leaves falling. Find them in Toronto today!Incidentally Dr Alli Shaw built the first private Hospital at Brumell Place, and Croal St. Prasads, Williams and Woodlands came later.St Roses' High School on Church St 2008 - still going strong as ever.The Fifties was however not all hairy dhorey. Major Political Crises included the Suspension of the Constitution 1953, and the calamatious Peas Party Split 1955 that started the Guyana Debacle - a regrettable chasm which divides the Nation even today. Adult Suffrage was introduced for the 53 elections. In 1950 the Peoples Progressive Party the first mass based political organization was formed. At the end of the Decade 1960 a third Political Party the United Force was founded.When there was a bombing in Port-of-Spain, Tdad around 1957 I felt extremely safe that such an incident could never happen in my homeland. We slept with our doors open and major crimes were fowl thief and raiding neighbours fruit trees. Buxton was famous for their mangoes and big bubby / backside binnies. Less than fives years later All Hell broke loose. There were more bombs in the mudland than on the French Coast at Normandy D Day 6th June 1944. Ya think it easy!The tenure of four Governors Sir Charles Woolley Sir Alfred Savage Sir Patrick Renison, and Sir Francis Grey covered this decade.Major Disaster of the Fifties was the Resaul Maraj Fire, Dec 1951. In May 1959, Atkinson Airport was destroyed by fire.The small man during this decade could truly be a big man or woman. Odos vision after Independence was politically well intentioned. But a resulting example would be todays every man for himself mini-bus morass of chaos and confusion one of todays several afflictions that needs to be excised.Betty with her black pudding Mrs Daniels Nook with patties and pastry Ferraz with his peanut punch - Singh with his channa & nuts Ashton the crab back king - Ransoms parlour DeCastros opposite and Shantas all became household popular.Atkinson Field built by the the Yankees 42/43 were relinquished by the Fifties to permit commercial overseas flights landing there, and Panams amphibious landings at the Demerara River Mouth off the Rowing Club were eliminated. In 1955 the BG Airways bought out Art Williams facilitating hinterland air transportation to expand with airstrips in Lethem & Annai. Beef Livestock was henceforth flown into the coastline, and arduous cattle drives eliminated.In the field of learning, Queens College moved 1951 from Brickdam to a spanking new premises at Thomas Lands. Woolford Ave became a corridor of Learning Institutions. Tech Institute was established. Central High / Indian education Trust / Gandhi Youth The Trade Union Council and Georgetown Dramatic opened pavilions on this strip.Carnegie Home School of Economics came on stream, and a new premises for the Blind to learn craftwork was built at St Phillips.A Sacred Heart School Report - 3rd Standard 1951 - Do you still have yours? We have ours, as proof to the 'siblings 'that we were bright sparks..Ya think it easy!The nations literacy peaked with 3 dailies Chronicle, Argosy, and Graphic plus a plethora of other publications incl The Chronicle Christmas Annual with literary and photographic competitions. The public Free Library opened Branches in New Amsterdam 1953 and in McKenzie 1955. Bookstores included Argosy Midget SPCK - Fogartys Bookers - Chasberth and Central High.Believe it or not. March 2008, there is only one recognized Bookshop Austins on Church St in Georgetown. And we wonder why things gone down hill, down deh - today!The new Carib Hotel a stones throw outside Georgetown became the mecca for our Social dancing while the Bel Air hotel Mariners Club - Bookers Staff Sports Club - Legionnaires also became favorite spots. The Sports Clubs Chinese Portuguese East Indians GFC & GCC had annual seasonal and ethnic socials.Must mention Frolic Hall Rest Hall Haleys Garland Prospect Hall E. B. Tipperary Hall Profitts Place, Town Hall NA. Dance, the Community Center and abandoned Basra at Bartica. Party and Fete was a social plus a must - and our sporting pastime.Bookers Universal Christmas Staff Party.....Note the gears.....Recognise Edmay -Prince - Clive L.In the field of Sports a drive along Thomas Road witnessed keen sport activities daily at well maintained manicured grounds including Eve Leary, YMCA - QC BGCC Chinese Malteenoes Transport Post Office. Off the parallel Kelly Dam there was East Indians CYO Teachers Scouts St Stanislaus Rifle Ranges and Northern Rangers.Most of these grounds are now unkempt cow pasture with the national sport today a Sunday Night Lime on the Sea Wall. Things so bad today that a moonlight Sea Wall public bedroom tryst is chapta Ya think it easy!Public Police Band Concerts were a weekly feature in these times. The Citys Botanic and Promenade Gardens were floral havens quiet spots to study and read and commune with nature -In the Fifties, Sunday was the last weekend opportunity to catch up on the prolific movie fare at the Cinemas, with the new Plaza 1951 Globe 1953 Strand Deluxe 1956. While there was no threat from Television locally for the entertainment market we relished the epic wide screen productions of DeMilles Ten Commandments Wylers Ben Hur and Todds Around the World in Eighty Days.Alan Ladd - SHANE - the best Western of the Fifties which opened 1952 at the Astor CinemaToday the pirate DVD stores that closed the cinemas na open on Sundays. In the Fifties, groceries/ shops closed at 4pm Wed half-day and without time change we had nuff time to court play - booze then excuses for toopsy fathers wrong & strong - to abuse.In Cricket Bookers coaching program spearheaded by Clyde Walcott and Robert Christiani on the Sugar Estates brought the talent of Rohan Basil and Joe to the forefront with Clive Lance Roy to follow. In 1956 BG won the first Quadrangular Carib Cricket Tournament at Bourda with Lance Gibbs and Ivan Madray unplayable, while Rohan Solomon - Butcher and Pairadeau notched up centuries.Thereon, Guyana became a leader in West Indian Cricket with Chanders and Sarwan leading the field today. Bourda had its first bottle and stone riot 1953 when Umpire Badge Menzies adjudged Clifford McWatt run out. I was sitting in the North stand and the first bootle came from a padna of mine. Cant mention name.1959 BG won the Third West Indian Athletic Championship at GCC, Bourda. Annual Olympiads at Bourda and BGCC featured Jack Hied Ted Smith Mal Whitfield Harrison Dilliard Andy Stanfield (USA) Hector Alvaro & Rodriguez (Venezuela) challenging local cycling stars Laddie Lewis, Tarrant Glasgow and Lindsay Gordon. Rocky McPherson and Claudette Masdammer were our athletic ChampsErrol Ten-Pow, motorbike racing legend was on the grid for the first BGMRC meeting at the South Dakota Circuit, Aug 1956. Martin Dias, Our Mighty Midget, started his illustrious career that later earned 3 golds 2 silver and a Bronze at Central American / Empire and Panam Games.In Football the National Team matched invasions from Trinidad and Surinam and locally the McDonald Peppiette and Russell Cup were ding dong tussles. Clubs included Victoria St Barnabas GFC Charlton CYO Artillery - Infantry YMCA. Sports in every discipline flourished even Goat Racing and circle Rounders. Basketball was introduced 1954 from the Taitts Yard Murray St and Joey Kauffmans group tried Baseball at Kings Ground.Culturally the steelbands Quo Vadis Marabuntas Invaders with the Santapee Masquerade Bands made Christmas memorable with their Christmas costumed Tramps. Pan in Schools was introduced around 1958 and the Annual Music Festival introduced earlier embraced and encouraged local musicianship to classical heights. Texacans Steelband and Ramblers String Orchestra were the top favorites along with Tom Charles Syncopators, Al Seales Washboard and Nellos New Luckies.Ramblers String Orchestra - Our First String Band in the Fifties - still going strong today in Toronto - 53 years later. The 3 Three Serrao Brothers - Bing / Bernard / Maurice - in front - a shining example of Togetherness. -Ivy Campbells Dance School encouraged the young ones on stage in Ballet, while the grown-ups could learn ballroom and country dancing from Mrs Isabella Kranenburg at YWCA Brickdam.Godfrey's Greek Section hustling up Lamaha St to join the Band 'Helen of Troy' for judging at Eve Leary.Note the copper hand-beaten copper craft armour by section leader Prince Veerasammy...extreme right.The celebrations of Queens Elizabeths Coronation June 1953 was a glorious panoply of patriotic Union Jack colours and pennants, with the city transformed into a fairy land of illuminated architectural gems. Main and High St dazzled. Princess Margaret visited 1958 to view the best Agricultural & Livestock Show at Mon Repos.
Town Hall illuminated for Coronation 1953. Always felt that our Architecture lends itself to an annualFairyland Display - for tourists - but hell ....Light Bill!The League of Colored People Fair held annually in the Promenade Gardens, encouraged cottage industries. The Guyana Festival which started 1960 was the forerunner to todays Mash Celebrations.Vivian Lees Ace Advertising Al Seales Gems and Cyril Shaw Promotions encouraged local talent on stage and on records. Visiting Artistes included Johnny Matthis Louis Armstrong Byron Lee Sam CookeThe popular We are the Ovaltineys and the Gong Show brought many future local musical talent into the limelight. Can you imagine, Lord Canary and King Fighter being gonged off in their debut years.Radio Demerara opened 1950 on High St, and by 1958 a second channel GBS was justified. Olga Lopes Seales moved from Berbice to Georgetown to become our Broadcast Queen and Aunty Olga to thousands of underprivileged children.Banks DIH opened 1955 with Public Shares and their local brewed beer BANKS, Thanks, swamped the Market. Popular pop drinks incl Pepsi Coke Red Spot Vimto, Portello and Juicee. Mauby Ginger Beer, Sorrel Fly, and Sleepy Tonic the home brew. Pac Pac cut and load bush rum, was the speakeasy brew.Sacred Heart Cathedral Christmas Mass in the Fifties. The church and school was destroyed by Fire - Christmas Day, 9:00am 2004.The Zoo opened in 1952 and by the end of the decade funds were raised by that former energetic Mayor, to build the Luckhoo Pool.By 1957 Telecommunications were expanded at the new Telecoms Building on Brickdam while Postal and Transportatation Services were expanded to fulfil the growing needs of developing rural areasAdministration of Government Areas was by District Commissioners, while Self Help Programs allowed Districts to complete projects to help their Communities. Government provided materials - Districts supplied Labour. Govt Administration expanded with the New Ministerial Quarters built on High St opposite the Public Buildings.The first Housing Scheme in Ruimveldt was started with the Laing Ave Block completed.In style and fashion Sudeena Garbadeen and polyester replaced the serge suit with nylon and sheer sucker popular for the men. For the ladiesthe sack shift tent and slacks were popular, and thank heavens the stone crusher was replaced by kickers, heels and high risers. Ya ever try dancing the Mash Potato or King Sailor with a craft who had 2 left feet size Shaq ONeal.Hula Hoop came in 1957 to the delight of the entire family. Popular dance crazes included Mambo, Cha Cha and Rock & Roll. The Platters, Elvis Presley & Perry Como were the Radio Stars.These were the Days, my friend. Truly the Best of Times Two shilling black pudding was enough for the family. A freck of two bits was a matinee bill with refreshments. A dollar bought nuff Crab a whole snapper or enough meat for the family entre. There was no mini-buses Travel around the City was by two feet two wheels or Motor Transport buses for six cents. For Funerals dates to impress, you hired taxis for $1.20 from Bookers Tower Loys Cyrils Persauds (Kitty) or Normans.The sexes respected each other handkerchiefs and neckties, were a lavish gift we were one people one nation.Our destiny was mutilated during the next decade and continues to this day. The Migration of our Nations best Talent commenced. El Dorado must be restored.Those were the Days my Friend. The Fifties were Days of Glory. Alas Today its Days of Gory .Ya think it easy!For more nostalgias check out godfreychin.com and alsoNOSTALGIAS de book Golden Memories of Guyans 1940 to 1980.
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