Woodward, Ron (b.1922)

Ron Woodward was born in Glastonbury, the son of a plumber and builder. The family moved from Bath after World War I.  Ron was an ARP messenger boy during the first three years of World War II, before he joined the RAF.


Ron’s father ran a building firm, and in 1946 the two men built the first council houses in Glastonbury, using brick and tile made in the town. He got to know the social life of Glastonbury very well during the course of his life.

Building council houses in Glastonbury, c.1940s. Building council houses in Glastonbury, c.1940s.
Sound File
Listen to Ron Woodward - 1.55MB Duration 3:22 min.

AH: And what about life in Glastonbury, I mean social life?  Was there entertainment?


RW: There was a cinema here of course for a while but then that closed.


AH: Where was the cinema?


RW: Town Hall, that was the cinema.  That was built, that was one of the first jobs Dad done when he came down from Bath, 1920, ’21, I suppose, I don’t know. That was the cinema there and then it went on right on after the war and it was closed, now when?


AH: It was actually in the Town Hall?


RW: Oh yes, in the Town Hall and the seats at the back were tiered down, the main hall.  As kids we used to go on Saturday afternoon, show Pearl White, bad men put her on the railway track, run over her, that sort of thing, serials, this was Saturday afternoons, only cost us tuppence, sit on hard seats at the front there.


AH: I hadn’t realised there was a cinema in Glastonbury.


RW: Oh yes, yes there was, and you could, you could never get in, awful job to get in on a Saturday night, there was two houses, Saturday night was two houses, and a lot of people had their seats booked week after week after week. And but only I suppose one and sixpence in the back three rows or something.  Yes, quite a good...


AH: What about the Assembly Room after the war?  Was that...?


RW: That was mainly for dancing.  The Women’s Social Hour used to meet there in, dances Saturday night, yeah, sort of Rutland Boughton plays used to be put there, Miss Buckton and her cronies used to, but that was before the war though.  They used to put these things on, Arthurian Legends and all this sort of stuff, yes, that was put on there.


AH: And what about pub life because there seems to be quite a lot of pubs in the town?


RW: Yes, there was an awful lot of pubs in them days before the war, and there was the King William, was always supposed to be the roughest of them all.  The George and Pilgrims you didn’t go in unless you had a suit and tie on. The Crown Hotel was a commercial hotel, commercial, that was quite a nice pub that was.


There was the George Tap, not bad, isn’t here today, where Malcolm [Stocker] was the Rose and Crown, where the clinic is up top of High Street was the Glastonbury Arms, where else was there one?  The First and Last on the Wells Road, no the First and Last was over Northload Bridge there.  There was one on Wells Road, the Waggoners, the Waggoners been built since, was further on.  Yeah, there was a lot of pubs in them days.

Copyright Information
Copyright. This recording was made by Ann Heeley in October 1995. Photograph ©SRLM. For access to full interview please contact the Somerset Heritage Centre.