Well, I declare! Crowds gathered at Dunstable Town Hall for election results

Election night
Election night

Before local radio and the internet were here to provide an instant results service on election nights, this was how Dunstablians would first hear who had won.

They would gather in High Street North outside the floodlit town hall, where the votes were counted, and wait for the results to be read out from the hall’s balcony.

This picture was taken in (we guess) 1962, with just a couple of policemen present to make sure no-one in the crowd was knocked over by Watling Street traffic.

Only a few people had gathered just before 11pm on this particular evening, when Dunstable Borough councillors were being elected.

There would have been a much larger crowd on a Parliamentary election night.

There are two Dunstable councillors visible on the town hall balcony.

One appears to be Councillor Bill Farbon and the man examining some notes is clearly Councillor Walter Creasey, who had made the Halfway House into a hugely successful venue and whose name is now remembered at Creasey Park, home of Dunstable Town Football Club.

The large poster outside the hall is advertising Dunstable Drama Festival, once a very successful annual event which brought together dozens of the region’s amdram groups.

Santander Bank now stands on the site of the town hall, but the Crown pub and the Anchor archway on each side still remain.

The town hall was sold by auction at the Sugar Loaf in 1965 when the Pearl Assurance company made a successful bid of £35,000.

The company promptly put forward plans to replace the old Victorian structure with the building that can be found there today.

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