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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

When I first saw this 1942 programe for "Up and Doing", I spotted a familliar name under the artwork. For those of you who've been on HoL for a while, you may also recognise Astrop. Arthur Astrop joined HoL not long after it stared and added a whole series of posts about his childhoood here in the 1920s

I dropped Arthur a message to ask if the name was just a coincidence. Below is his reply which I publish with his permission.

Dear Hugh,

No, not a coincidence!  It is the work of my late uncle John Francis Astrop (my father's brother), who lived for many years at 88 Fairfax Road.  He was a commercial artist and worked for a firm named Stilwell Derby which specialised in theatrical work.  Not least, in designing theatre programmes, scenery, and designing and painting the huge 'safety curtain' which, in the inter-war years, had to be lowered and raised before each performance in a theatre, to reassure the audience!  This curtain was, in effect, a large 'advertising hoarding' and carried dozens of elaborate drawings and messages for national and local firms.

     A blank area in the middle of the curtain was also used to project slides of additional adverts. The curtain was non-flammable and tremendously heavy, and rather noisy while being lowered and raised, so music was played to drown it out!

     I meant to send HoL a message a few weeks ago when the Finsbury Park Empire got a mention on HoL, because sometime in the early1930s (when we were living at 257 Wightman Rd), my father took me there to see a performance by the famous illusionists Maskelyne & Devant.  (by that time, of course, it was Neville Maskelyne not his father Jasper, who had died just before WW1, I think). 

     Should you intend to show my uncle's poster on HoL please feel free to quote anything you like from this message, including my connection with JFA. (By the way, I passed my 92nd birthday this year, and follow HoL regularly, logging-on most days to see what the dear old patch is up to!). 

    My best wishes to you and to Liz.


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