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90th Anniversary For New Rosemere AOS

by David Butcher22 February 2017
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2017 is a proud year for New Rosemere AOS. The Society has chalked up an impressive 90 years of entertaining the good folk of Bolton with musical delights of the highest standard. So they have every right to celebrate as well. How did it all begin?

On Chorley Old Road, Bolton, one can see a pleasant detached property facing The Triangle Church to the front and with a rear aspect overlooking Doffcocker Lodge which once bore the name “Rosemere”.

Built in 1913 for Mr. R. C. Whitfield as a home for his new bride Effie, the house provided a happy home for the couple in the early years of their marriage.

To this house in the year 1927 came a young Customs and Excise Officer (a native of the City of Bath). He stayed with the Whitfields whilst stationed at a local office of His Majesty’s Customs and Excise. His name was Mr. P.A. James, known to his friends as ‘Pern’ and he brought with him to Bolton, a fascination for Amateur Operatics and in particular a love for the works of .

This love of music was shared by the Whitfields, who were active members of Bolton Choral Union at that time. They were happy to share Pern’s enthusiasm and determined together to form an amateur society devoted to the works of Gilbert & Sullivan

They accordingly became joint founders of the new society, gathered together a group of musical friends at Albert Place School (which stood at the junction of Chorley Old Road and Chorley New Road) and took the Society’s name from the Whitfield’s home.

The first production was ‘Trial by Jury’ and it was a great success. They soon had to move to larger premises and Bolton Lads Club on Bark St. became their new home with a production of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’.

The Society remained at Bark St. for 15 years until 1943 when they transferred their to the vastly superior facilities of St. Paul’s Parochial Hall in Astley Bridge.

In more recent years, the Society has performed at Walmsley Parochial Hall (1984 & 1985) and since 1986 at the Albert Hall (within the Victorian Town Hall building). Alterations at the Albert Halls meant that in 2015 the Society had to find a new home and they moved to The Parish Hall Theatre Walmsley where they will present their 108th production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s splendid show, “The Gondoliers” in March 2017.

To put things into perspective, this will be the 11th time that the Society have presented “The Gondoliers” and will make it their joint most often performed production, alongside “The Mikado” and “Iolanthe”

Will New Rosemere AOS ever reach the Bolton News’s 150 year record? Who knows…but one thing is for sure they’ll have a jolly musical time attacking the record and whatever the future holds for new Rosemere, you’ll be guaranteed a warm welcome by New Rosemere AOS as they present Gilbert & Sullivan’s ‘The Gondoliers’. With an award-winning cast and crew and a full (and wonderful) orchestra, it’s set to be a great evening’s entertainment.

“The Gondoliers” runs from 21-25 March at The Parish Hall Theatre Walmsley

Tickets are available at £12.50 (all nights) and £11 for concessions (Tuesday-Thursday only) can be bought from Helen on 01204 300666 or via their website www.newrosemere.com.

About the Author

David Butcher

David Butcher

Member of New Rosemere since 1981 Mad about G&S

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