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The Feast & Mr Charles Thurston

Golden Peacocks 1929
1929 postcard - Thurston's Golden Peacocks - Rushden Feast

Mr Charles Thurston used to bring his fairground to Rushden and origianlly set up on land opposite the Queen Victoria Hotel in 1904. He brought a 'New Theatre' to Higham Ferrers Feast in 1909. [see below]

Later the Feast was moved to Spencer Park and Charles presented the Bowls Club that played there with a cup to be presented annually to winners of a competition, the Thurston Cup.

In 1997 a Blue Plaque was erected to his memory, and has recently been moved into the entry area of Asda's store.

Rushden Echo, 27th August 1909, transcribed by Peter Brown

Higham Ferrers Feast - Mr Thurston’s New Theatre
Scenes of animation have this week been the order of the day at Higham Ferrers, the festivities in connection with the annual feast attracting large numbers of people from all over the county, and the streets of the ancient borough have presented the appearance of a busy London thoroughfare. The crowd in the paddock of the Green Dragon, which is now recognised as the feast ground, baffled description, and on Monday night it seemed as though the whole of the population of the neighbourhood had been packed into the one field. It was practically impossible to get round the field at all except by moving with the stream, any attempt to move in the opposite direction being doomed to failure.

The ................ cars, swing boats, and roundabouts were well patronised. The penalty kick competitions received considerable attention from the hands—or rather feet—of some well-known

Higham and Rushden Footballers
who created consternation in the hearts of the goalkeeper and proprietor by their success in placing the “leather” in the net so frequently. On two separate occasions these “sons of Hercules” had to be paid to go away as they were monopolising the play and minimising the profits of the concern, and the proprietor doubtless breathed a sigh of relief as the “budding internationals” retired with the “spoils of war.”

The principal attraction was undoubtedly provided by Mr Chas Thurston—whose efforts to provide the public with wholesome amusement are always successful and so greatly appreciated—in the shape of an interesting bioscope entertainment, the theatre in which the exhibition was given being a magnificent structure, new last Easter. The

Colosal Organ
which has a breadth of 52 feet and covers the whole of the front of the building, is equal to a band of 110 performers, and is adorned by some beautiful specimens of the sculptor's art, the figures represented including the Goddess of Fire, Hercules, Apollo, Jupiter, etc. The beauty of the whole is considerably enhanced by over a thousand coloured electric lights-arranged as to obtain the finest artistic effect. The van in which the organ is conveyed from place to place was specially constructed and is the largest ever made. Inside the theatre everything that could possibly conduce to the greatest possible comfort of the audience has been done. The seats are handsomely upholstered in red plush, and four powerful electric fans change the air in the building every few minutes, whilst illumination is provided by innumerable electric incandescent lamps. Two dainty and

Graceful Dancers,
Gladys and Lydda, prove a powerful attraction. The repertoire of high-class films includes “The fall of Pompei," Dumas” "Count of Monte Christo," and " The Invasion of England," and these are to be shown at the forthcoming Rushden feast. The pictures are thrown on to the screen by a powerful electric arc light and are motor driven; and a clearness of definition and steadiness, unobtainable by any other method, are thus obtained. We have no hesitation in saying that this is one of the finest and most up-to-date travelling shows we have yet seen, and Mr. Charles Thurston is to be congratulated on the high-class entertainment provided.

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