Social Life


The townspeople of Highbridge has always been ready to celebrate special occasions and the reports that we have unearthed, together with a few photographs, show that everyone has been prepared to, not only dress up themselves…Read more here.


On the morning of 5th December 1958 Highbridge came to life with growing excitement in anticipation of the visit by the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. Bunting, pictures and flags adorned Market Street and Church Street the route the Royal party were to take to the Radio Station..Read more here.


In 1945 at the end of the Second World War the first Highbridge Carnival was organised by the Welcome Home Fund for the forces.  The first consisted of a carnival procession, a giant bonfire,  and a squibbing display on the Town Square…Read more here.


The first Highbridge Chrysanthemum Show was held in 1936, when a Society was formed to promote an interest in the growing of chrysanthemums.  This brought back an earlier interest in flower growing after the demise of the Highbridge Flower Show….Read more here.


In 1948 a former Headmaster of Highbridge V.C. School, Mr A Mason with few teachers and a group of enthusiasts decided to form the Highbridge Music Festival. The object was to encourage the appreciation of music, both vocal and instrumental….Read more here.


The club was officially formed in 1935, when four farmers donated £5.00 each, they were Mr. Tom Tripp, Mr. Gilbert Gilling, Mr. Ben Arney and Mr. Jim Tewksbury.  The club started as a type of “calf club” where sons and daughters (approx ages 10 – 26 years) of farmers..Read more here.


“Probably a no more generous action has ever been done for the welfare of the town of Highbridge” was a statement made in the “Burnham Gazette”& “Somerset Advertiser” in October 14th 1913.  This referred to the erection of a handsome building in Church Street, to be known as the Highbridge Social Club…Read more here.


The Burnham and Highbridge Town Band which was originally known as the Burnham and Highbridge Services Band, was first formed in 1945 at the end of the hostilities in Europe.  Mr. C.W. King, a local musician undertook the teaching and conducting; he was latterly the Band’s President for many years…Read more here.


This is an international Organisation formed by Lord Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell in 1908 (and the Girl Guides in 1910); the aim was to produce good citizenship in the rising generation.  As a young Cavalry Officer he had served with…Read more here.


The Ambulance Division was first registered on 24th June 1932 as Highbridge & Burnham Division, single sex Divisions only were operated – Ambulance for men, Nursing for ladies and corresponding for Cadets. Today there are combinations of Quadrilateral – one Division with all members- men, women, boys and girls;…Read more here.


The Air Training Corp has been in Highbridge and Burnham since 1940 the current headquarters being just off the Highbridge Road. The Army Cadet Force and Sea Cadets had been in existence for some years and upon the outbreak of hostilities in 1939…Read more here.


Women’s Section – Formed in September 1929 it covered Highbridge, East and West Huntspill, Watchfield, Mark and Burtle; the agreed subscription being 1s. 00d per year. The first general meeting was held on 21st November 1929 with 96 members being present…Read more here.


The B.A.Y. club was built in 1966 on the playing fields next to the King Alfred School at a cost of £10,000.  The local community raised 25% of the money.  The floor area was 5000 sq. ft. with a hyper para’boloid roof, designed to reflect the maritime nature of the area….Read more here.


This club meets every Tuesday at Morland Hall, Highbridge where everyone is made welcome.  The club is independent, self-supporting and is run by a committee of volunteers and club members…Read more here.


Can you imagine, suddenly to be plunged into a world of not being able to see to do the little things you enjoyed doing, or being able to go out on your own. Blindness can make a person feel very lonely and vulnerable…Read more here.


The U3A of Highbridge is 5 years old in the town and is one of over 500 within the United Kingdom; its full title is the “University of the Third Age”. The idea originated in France around 1972, the idea being…Read more here.


This Society was originally called “Help the Blind” being set up in 1995 by Rod Carne.  It then became a Charitable Organisation and the charity was renamed “The National Blind Children’s Society”….Read more here.


As a member of a federation of many Age Concern organisations, which are active in this country and across the world, Age Concern Somerset is a non-profit making charity which gets financial support from local institutions, to solely help older people in Somerset….Read more here.


Under the auspices of the Primary Care Trust, a Group has been set up in the town; this is concerned with catering for the elderly and people who have mobility problems. Many elderly people, especially if suffering from rheumatism or a similar problem, suffer falls and the resulting hospitalisation and aftercare that follows is very costly to the National Health Service. In an attempt to reduce the instances of ‘falling’ the Group has undertaken the task of trying to encourage the elderly to be a little more careful when moving around both their homes or when out side, shopping or whatever.


A number of social groups met regularly in the public houses in Highbridge. If you have any information to add to this section then do let us know, here are a few photographs that we have been given permission to include…Read more here.

4 responses to “Social Life

  1. I know that there were several Friendly Societies in Highbridge at some time Any information you can let me have, or a reference for me to go to, would be most appreciated. Phillip Hoyland.

  2. I am so surprised that there is nothing on the site with regard to the Regal Cinema. Well, here goes. It was situated next to the line gates and as I recall it was never in a great state of repair and I choose my words carefully!
    Mrs Beaumont usually sold the tickets at the booth in the foyer, occasionally accompanied by one or two of her retinue of dogs who frequently accompanied her when she was out and about in the town. Mrs Flo Paget , a great multi tasker, was usherette and doubled up as ice cream seller in the interval.
    Saturdays was a great day for the children. In the morning there was childrens’ pictures at the Ritz in Burnham and in the afternoon it was held at the Regal.
    This was when Mrs Paget’s multitasking skills came into play because she had one heck of a job of seating the unruly mob, was ice cream lady and also tried in vain to keep order during the performance.
    She must have dreaded the two hours on Saturday afternoons and must have been exhausted when she had her break between the end of the children’s performance and the start of the evening one.
    If there was to be a western film shown, the boys would don their cowboy outfits, almost all of them owned one for the purpose of participating in the shoot outs. When the shooting started the place erupted in pandemonium. Everyone shouted for the goodies to overpower the baddies and along with the shouting, cap guns were fired all around the cinema. Mrs Paget must have been in despair. She was no good at all at keeping order and furthermore, we used to play her up by rattling bags of marbles, upon which she would rise from her seat at the back and make her way, torch flashing, to where she thought the culprits were. After hiding the marbles and looking as if butter wouldn’t melt in their mouths, our intrepid usherette/ ice cream lady, would make her way back to her seat, which was the cue to recommence the marble rattling, Up she would get again, “who’s rattling they marbles?” she would say, “ill ‘ave ee, I’ll ‘ave ee. and the whole process would recommence.
    Little did we realise what happy days they were. Our parents did not have much money but sixpence was a good price to pay for them to have a couple of hours peace and quiet.
    On the King Street side of the Regal there was a double door which, where they joined had a fairly large hole through which, if you peered you could see the cinema screen. We used to take turns at peeping through.
    I often wonder if the ghost of Mrs Paget has been seen shining her torch!!!

  3. Circa 1945 I am looking for information regarding the Lamb Hotel, Church Street. i have acquired some letters to Mrs Bird from her husband, George. It seems Mrs Bird either lived there or was staying there, she also had family in Watchfield. Any information would be greatly received as i am trying to get the letters to her family.

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