recalls his memories of the arrival of the whale at Belle Vue
All the shows, when I say a show like the corner of the
Kings Hall. It might be the Spider Woman
or anything unusual, they all use to have what you call a flash at the front of
the show, that was a painting of what you got to see when you got into XX. That had to big and brash. When you actually got in there it was nothing
like what you saw on the picture but my dad did all of that and I helped him in
the early days of doing these flashes.
There was one season they had a chap come along, a Swiss
fella with a whale carcass on a trailer and basically it was a dead whale on a
trailer, but the flash depicted a scene of it at sea with the trawler landing,
harpooning the whale and all the rest of it.
It was call Jonah the Giant Whale, but a few weeks previous to it
opening in the grounds it was stored in the exhibition halls and the painters
were busy painting the trailer and all the rest of it and my dad had the job of
doing some lettering around it.
One evening after we had finished work we had a
drive down to the exhibition hall to see how far they were on with the job
before we could go in and do the lettering on it, you know how far the painters
had got, and we arrived there to one of the painters running backwards and
forwards like a headless chicken because his friend had taken a tumble. He had been on top of the whale, why I don’t
know but he had fallen off the whale and he was on the floor there leaned up
against the wall concussed and bleeding a bit, so I jumped in my dad’s car I’d
just past my test, I rally drived, drove round to the lodge there at the back
of Belle Vue and jumped on the phone, phoned ambulance who asked me “what’s the
problem” and I said, well somebody has fell off a whale. So there was a few seconds silence on the
other end that I explained what had happened, anyway the ambulance eventually
arrived and he was taken away but he was ok.
He got over it, but I think really he should go in the Guinness Book of
Records of the only painter to fall off a whale, but I don’t think it happened