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Hearing Henner Hudspeth

We recently published Jean Walker (nee Pretswell)’s account of growing up on Cardigan Teraace. She referred to her next door neighbour: ‘On the left side, at number 11, was Henner Hudspeth. He had a dance band and used to practise in the house – noise pollution! It wouldn’t be allowed nowadays!’

Henner Hudspeth
Henner Hudspeth practising his accordian


Jean’s memories prompted Heaton History Group member, Ian Clough, to do some further digging. Ian takes up the story:

‘No sooner had I read Jean’s recollections, than my memories were transported back in time, vividly picturing the painted sign above the front door of number nine Cardigan Terrace reading ‘PRETSWELL’S REMOVALS’, when I remembered my friend, Tricia Easby, once telling me that her father Henry Hudspeth was born at number 11. And sure enough he is found there, aged two, in the 1911 census, “But who was Henner Hudspeth?” , I hear you asking. Well, stick a lad in a group of others long enough and the chance is he’ll end up with a nickname and that’s what happened to Henry Hudspeth, the Victor Silvester of Heaton aka Henner Hudspeth. Here he is as a young man playing accordion in Al Moore’s Band at The Heaton in 1933:

Al Moore's band at the Heaton, 1933
Al Moore’s band at the Heaton, 1933

‘And here, with a little imagination we can read the banner as ‘HENNER HUDSPETH AND HIS BAND’ and the singer is apparently ‘Edna’, the name pencilled on the back of the photo but Edna who? Henner formed a dance band and played at the time when ballroom dancing was in its heyday. The band played at many venues but the principal ballrooms in Heaton at the time were ‘The Heaton’ and the ‘Grosvenor Ballroom’. The latter is still to be found on Chillingham Road.

Henner Hudspeth and his band
Henner Hudspeth and his band

And below, the band is caught in full swing but had they literally gone to the dogs playing at Brough Park? The music stands would suggest so.

Henner Hudspeth's band
Henner Hudspeth’s band

The Hudspeth family

‘Henner had good taste, marrying a Heaton lass, Anne (Nancy) Sweeney from Plessey Terrace, at St Gabriel’s Parish Church in 1939.

Henner and Nancy Hudspeth on their wedding day
Henner and Nancy Hudspeth on their wedding day

‘And here are other members of his family, as mentioned in the 1911 census’.

Henner Hudspeth with his mother and father
Frank Hudspeth with his mother and father
Emma Hudspeth
Emma Hudspeth
Arthur Hudspeth
Arthur Hudspeth

The final photograph is of older brother, Arthur, who as previously mentioned in the article, ‘Cardigan Terrace: the memories live on’ was killed in WW1. He was a teacher at Westgate Hill School and is remembered on the Cuthbert Bainbridge Wesleyan War Memorial, now held in storage at St Cuthbert’s on Heaton Road.’

Can you help?

Lots of readers must have heard Henner Hudspeth and his band or danced at the venues mentioned. Please share information or your memories either by adding a comment to the site (by clicking on the link just below the article title) or emailing



  1. What an astonishing discovery: the photo of the band attributed to Brough Park shows my grandfather on violin. He lived for quite a few years in 7th Ave (before moving to Tintern Crescent) and I always knew he worked with bands at The Heaton but certainly had no documentary evidence of this… until now. Brilliant find Ian, thank-you. I wonder if people will be musing over photos of me forty years after I am gone?

  2. My farther-in-law Gordon Nichol will love this as he sang at the The Heaton in the war years if anyone has more photo’s of the bands we would love to see them Its his Birthday soon he will be 92 he still lives in Heaton and as lots of memories

        • Hi we will see Gordon on Saturday I’am sure he would love to share his stories he talks about been paid 7/6p for singing three songs it was more than his wage he had a free pass which impressed all the girls Eric takes him for a drink on Saturday to the Corner House he always ends up reminiscing about the Heaton sorry we don’t have any photo’s but lots of memories

  3. Let us know what he says. It would be lovely if he could get to our meetings. They’re held in the Corner House once a month. The next one is fully booked but the one after that is on 27 May on the Home Front in WW1. I’m sure he’d enjoy it. There are lots of people to reminisce with, some more senior than others! It’s very friendly.


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