YESTERYEAR: When Winifred visited Luton’s Cresta Ballroom

Winfred Attwell at Cresta Ballroom in Alma Street, Luton, in 1957 eEAYo6JhyPXugIzPvQ-8
Winfred Attwell at Cresta Ballroom in Alma Street, Luton, in 1957 eEAYo6JhyPXugIzPvQ-8

PHOTO 1: Luton News readers may have in their collections recordings by pianist Winifred Attwell, pictured here backstage before she performed at the Cresta Ballroom in Alma Street, Luton, in 1957.

We’ve absolutely no idea why there’s a dog with pups sitting on her piano. Perhaps they belonged to Winifred or someone who worked at the venue.

Corn Exchange, Market Hill, Luton, 1944 TjmoussZ0MCQcrqV5xNS

Corn Exchange, Market Hill, Luton, 1944 TjmoussZ0MCQcrqV5xNS

Born in Tunapuna, Trinidad, Winifred had a series of boogie woogie and ragtime hits in the 1950s.

Her concerts drew standing-room-only crowds across Europe and Australia and she played three Royal Variety performances.

At a private party for Queen Elizabeth II, she was called back for an encore by the monarch herself, who requested Roll Out The Barrel. Winifred became a firm TV favourite and had her own series. Her brilliant career earned her a fortune and it would have extended further to the USA but for race issues.

She settled in Australia but suffered a stroke in 1980 and died three years later, aged 69, after a heart attack while staying with friends following an electrical fire that destroyed her home.

PHOTO 2: Ladies in the kitchen at the Corn Exchange, Market Hill, Luton, in December 1944.