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By Mary Brooke Cruickshank (his daughter), 2007
Ted Smith - Drummer
Ted Smith with his drums
Ted with his drums in the back garden of Talbot Road - note the Highfield Baptist Church in the background
Ted Smith was born in Knotting Bedfordshire on 27 October 1916.  He later moved to Souldrop and spent his childhood and early adult years there.

Ted showed an interest in music from an early age. He was in the local church choir and first began ‘playing the drums’ by using a twig and a biscuit tin. His Dad felt there was a musical talent in his son and arranged drumming lessons with Max Abraham.  In 1935, as King George V and Queen Mary celebrated their Silver Jubilee Ted formed ‘The Jubilee Serenaders’ playing at various dances around the villages. It was at one of these dances that he met Kathleen Pendered, his future wife. His band then, I believe, was known as the Ted Smith Trio.

In 1939 Ted was invited to join the John Stein Orchestra at the Pomme d’or Hotel in Jersey. It was his first opportunity to become a professional drummer. Members of the band wore gypsy attire and sported moustaches, something Ted never had but with the help of a pencil he quickly fitted the part. He thought his career and his future lay in Jersey but at the outbreak of the second world war he, along with many others, had to enlist in the armed forces just 9 months after his move to Jersey.

Ted playing in Jersey
Ted playing with the John Stein Orchestra at the Pomme d'Or Hotel, Jersey
Ted joined the Beds and Herts Regiment of the British Army in May 1940 but was lucky enough to be able to continue with his love of music for a while, playing before Queen Williamena, Prince Michael and King Peter (aged 10) who were in exile from Yugoslavia.  He was then posted to North Africa and Italy where he spent the remaining years of the war.

In January 1941 whilst on leave from the army, Ted married Kathleen in Rushden at the Independent Wesleyan Church.  Kathleen lived with her Aunt Doris, and her husband Ben Hume, in Gordon Street Rushden and it was there that their two children were born. 

On March 8th 1946 Ted returned home and the family moved to Talbot Road in Rushden.  The houses were built by Arthur Sanders and at the time the area was surrounded by fields. To the rear of the house there was an allotment next door to Highfield Baptist Chapel.

Work was hard to find for Ted, particularly in the music field but he found employment as a porter at Rushden Railway Station, later working at the Co-op Shoe Factory and ending his working days at Allebone’s as a Shoe Examiner.

Ted with the Fred Winstone Band
Ted with the Fred Winstone Band
During this time Ted continued with his music. He played with various bands in the area; Fred Winstone, Vic Riches, Ralph Tompkins, as well as his own ‘trio’ entertaining around the pubs and Working Men’s Clubs in the area.  As well as playing the drums Ted also had the skill to write musical arrangements for other instruments in the band. He would often return late at night and work all night on an arrangement, not giving up until it was finished.

Ted’s ambitions did not lead him to the career he had always wanted but his love of music stayed with him, giving a lot of pleasure to many.

Ted died on 16th March 2000 and was buried at All Saints Church, Souldrop.

Note: In Ted's effects, his daughter found some programmes from her father's time with the Ralph Tomkins Band, which she kindly sent to us.

Click here to see the Calendonian Society and the Chamber of Trade. Also a poster for a Wrestling match.

See also Talent Show

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