Chum led the Old Contemptibles in Dunstable parade

Church Street, Dunstable, procession
Church Street, Dunstable, procession

Part of the south side of Church Street was being rebuilt when this photo of a procession was taken in 1962 or 1963.

The Mayor at the time was Councillor Haydn Parrott, which helps to date the picture.

One of the town’s senior policemen, Inspector Bill John, is leading the procession, followed by the Dunstable Excelsior Silver Band and the Dunstable branch of the Old Contemptibles led by a redoubtable local figure, Chum Dickens. The Old Contemptibles were veterans of the First World War (the German Kaiser had called the initial British force “that contemptible little army”) and the old comrades liked to be called “chums”.

The W.A. King business was a well-known fashion store whose premises have now been divided into two shops: T.A. Nails and the Clarity tattoo clinic. The Thomas Thorne estate agents building is now the Belvoir lettings agency with the Broadwalk wine bar alongside, and the building being erected in our older photo is now the home of Angliss Carpets and Domino’s Pizza. The antiques shop in the distance belonged to William Rixson and is now the Chez Jerome restaurant. A huge local campaign managed to save the historic Rixson building from being demolished.

> Yesteryear is compiled by John Buckledee, chairman of Dunstable and District Local History Society.