Personal Memories of a Magical Day

1991 - It was without doubt, the most important year in The George Formby Society’s thirty year history since the day in 1961 when the Londoner George Wilson started the ball rolling and the Society was born. The date in 1991 when the Warrington Exhibition was launched was a Red Letter day both for the Society and for many new members who, before the internet, found it difficult to join the GFS, I tried to find the Society in the late 70’s but after contacting a couple of local libraries in West Yorkshire and getting no ideas, the trail ran dry. Over 35,000 people in a three month period visited the Warrington Exhibition. It was set up to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Society. I actually visited it twice and on the second occasion I shot the video clip that can be viewed on this page. I will never forget walking through the door of the Warrington Museum and being greeted by editor of the GFS magazine, The Vellum, Stan Evans who was accompanied by a brilliant young ukulele player called Anthony Mason. I immediately joined up and bought whatever was available from Stan’s shop. Then I wandered around the exhibition, delightedly gazing at all things George Formby. Most of the archives had been supplied by the late Alan Randall who had acquired them from George Formby’s fiancée Pat Howson. I also loved viewing the newsreel footage of George which was showing constantly in a small darkened cinema section of the exhibition. Lots of photographs, taken throughout George’s life were on display, has was Beryl’s famous scrapbook, George’s silver disc for “When I’m Cleaning Windows” and numerous instruments previously owned and played by the man. In short, for a three month period a George Formby paradise was created in 1991 and combining the visit to the museum with a visit to the Formby monument completed my day. The video clip was shot on my second visit when I was accompanied by the man who would get me into playing the banjo-uke, the late Stan Brown. Stan only lived 10 minutes from me and gave me invaluable help when I got my first instrument at Christmas 1991. Stan can be seen playing at the beginning of the clip.
image of John Walley The Warrington Exhibition

Personal Memories of a Magical Day

1991 - It was without doubt, the most important year in The George Formby Society’s thirty year history since the day in 1961 when the Londoner George Wilson started the ball rolling and the Society was born. The date in 1991 when the Warrington Exhibition was launched was a Red Letter day both for the Society and for many new members who, before the internet, found it difficult to join the GFS, I tried to find the Society in the late 70’s but after contacting a couple of local libraries in West Yorkshire and getting no ideas, the trail ran dry. Over 35,000 people in a three month period visited the Warrington Exhibition. It was set up to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Society. I actually visited it twice and on the second occasion I shot the video clip that can be viewed on this page. I will never forget walking through the door of the Warrington Museum and being greeted by editor of the GFS magazine, The Vellum, Stan Evans who was accompanied by a brilliant young ukulele player called Anthony Mason. I immediately joined up and bought whatever was available from Stan’s shop. Then I wandered around the exhibition, delightedly gazing at all things George Formby. Most of the archives had been supplied by the late Alan Randall who had acquired them from George Formby’s fiancée Pat Howson. I also loved viewing the newsreel footage of George which was showing constantly in a small darkened cinema section of the exhibition. Lots of photographs, taken throughout George’s life were on display, has was Beryl’s famous scrapbook, George’s silver disc for “When I’m Cleaning Windows” and numerous instruments previously owned and played by the man. In short, for a three month period a George Formby paradise was created in 1991 and combining the visit to the museum with a visit to the Formby monument completed my day. The video clip was shot on my second visit when I was accompanied by the man who would get me into playing the banjo- uke, the late Stan Brown. Stan only lived 10 minutes from me and gave me invaluable help when I got my first instrument at Christmas 1991. Stan can be seen playing at the beginning of the clip.
image of John Walley The Warrington Exhibition