Last Saturday (2nd July), Millman Street Community Centre members were amongst those who enjoyed the annual Queen Square Fair in Holborn. They joined in with singing, dancing and the other activities. After an autumnal early summer, the sun came out at last.
There were several stalls selling bric-a-brac, jewellery, plants and candles. The HCA stall offered food, cooked by Ruma and Shamin. Saira and Sarah also helped out. There was also an HCA clothes rail, where Richard and Tom (aided by the latter’s friend, who had passed by only to be roped into the cause) sold jumpers and scarves (at very reasonable prices). Elsewhere in the square, our very own Carmen did a roaring trade with her face-painting for kids, for which there was a queue all day.
Over by the Mary Ward Centre, there was a man doing charcoal portraits (to raise cash for the Mary Ward Bursary Fund). There was also an Artworkshop stall, and another that went by the title Queen Square – A Little History, which featured old photos of Holborn. The Calthorpe Centre’s stall was one of several selling flowers and plants.
Then there were the bands. First up were Bahareque Latin American Rhythm. Like all the performers, the five-piece were gifted musicians. Amongst the instruments they used were Venezuelan and Paraguayan Harps, a cuatro, a charango, and pan pipes. Their repertoire of Spanish-language songs included some from Chile and Mexico. They played with great gusto to some applause.
Then came the Mary Ward Ukelele Band, who overcame difficulties with microphone levels to belt out versions of Blue Moon and What A Wonderful World, amongst others. Then they were joined by the HCA choir – including Fred and Olive, Ivy and Norman. They sang Edelweiss, Tonight You Belong To Me, Que Sera Sera and Wade In The Water.
Fred enjoyed himself. “It was a good evening out,” he said. “And we got home before the rain came!”
“I enjoyed the songs,” said Ivy. “It was very nice.”
Old friends and former HCA colleagues also turned up, including recent departures Sue and Len. “It’s a lovely day,” Sue said. “Nice to come and not to have to work,” she joked. Doubtless due to her 35 years at HCA, she still referred to our members as “Our singers,” who, she said, “were very good!”
HCA’s Chief Trustee and all round good egg, Crispin, was also around, soaking up the atmosphere. “I always enjoy myself [at these events],” he said.
Several of our other members mingled with the throng. George was taking photos and enjoying himself. Bernie was interested in the jewellery stalls, on the lookout for ornithologically themed bling, hoping to add to his collection of owl-related paraphernalia. What did he think of the fair? “It’s alright, I suppose,” he replied, owlishly.
“It’s nice to be here,” beamed Janice, accompanied by husband Geoffrey as they enjoyed ice creams.
On the main stage, there was a dancing class, with various couples cutting a rug to jazz, rock’n’roll and jive tracks. Volunteer Bridie kept an eye on Queenie and Anne, helping to ensure they enjoyed themselves. Anne – the Jewel of Hatton Garden – was “Very happy,” watching the dancers. And said so: “I’m feeling so happy!”
Next on stage were the Northern Celts. Another very professional-sounding act, who performed with fiddles, flutes, acoustic guitars and drums. Les Coughlan, who founded the band 20 years ago, makes and plays drums. Seemed like a decent geezer, who chatted with the HCA crew before taking the stage. The tunes were traditional Irish, Scottish and British folk tunes; the only one this ignoramus of a reporter recognised was Whiskey In The Jar. Meanwhile, other HCA members attended another Old Time Music Hall Show performance by the Mary Ward Centre Ensemble in the Centre.
Margaret and her niece were also at the event. “It’s nice,” Margaret said. “I like the music. I bought cakes and a plant from the stalls.”
Top of the musical bill were the Dove Jones Blues band. Sadly, it was past this reporter’s bedtime by the time they took the stage, although he is reliably informed that they performed a very good set of – what else? – blues and rock, again to an appreciative audience.
All in all, the 2016 Queen Square Fair was very successful. Local residents were entertained, bought goods and/or donated to various local charitable causes; they ate, drank and were merry. And it didn’t rain. Oh, to be in Holborn in the summertime…
Holborn Community Association would like to thank its staff, volunteers and members for contributing to a great day out, and hope that 2017’s extravaganza will be even better.
Photos by Sarah; report by Notes Smudger