Memories of the Blue Ping Dance Band

Jack Cardall and the Blue Ping Dance Band in the Assembly Rooms (now the Stoneythorpe Hotel); shows the band sitting with their instruments - from left Mr. Cardall, Mr. King, Billy Pratt, Collier Paxton, Mr. Cardall jr., Mr. George Cooksey. 1930s
IMAGE LOCATION: (Warwickshire County Record Office) IMAGE DATE: (c.1930) PEOPLE IN PHOTO: Pratt, Billy, Pratt as a surname, Paxton, Collier, Paxton as a surname, King, Mr, King as a surname, Cooksey, Mr, Cooksey as a surname, Cardall, Mr Snr, Cardall, Jack, Cardall as a surname
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Jonathan Cardall, Jack’s father, who lived in Oxford Street, Southam, started the dance band just after the first world war. In 1917 he had bought the delicensed Blue Pig Inn in Oxford Street and they put an “n” in Pig to make it the more musical name of Blue Ping Dance Band. Jonathan had been a musician in the band of the Welsh Regiment and his son Jack (born 1900) was an accomplished pianist.

They were joined by Billy Pratt, Fred King, John Goodhand and George Cooksey. They were occasionally helped out by Reg Treble, Alf Harrison and Monty Chater.

In later years it became known as the Jack Cardall Band and later Jack’s sons, John and Robert joined the band. (Note: still called Blue Ping Band as late as 1959, but usually prefaced with Jack Cardall.)

They played in village halls, club rooms and hotels from Coventry to Leamington and Warwick, from Rugby to Daventry to Banbury, including in the upper room, the famous Star Chamber, of the old Manor House at Wormleighton , when the piano had to hoisted to the upstairs room through a window.

They played mostly on Friday and Saturday nights, finished before midnight on Saturday with “God Save the King/Queen”. Dress was always formal, the band wearing evening suits with dinner jackets.

George Cooksey – by Daphne Hansell

George Thomas Cooksey was born on March 18th 1909, to Sarah and Benjamin Cooksey. He was born at “The Dock” Leamington Hastings, according to his birth certificate. I think this may have been where Nelsons Cement Works was.

His Parents owned a grocery store a the Dock and Ben was a corn dealer. Prior to that, five generations of Cookseys were boatmen on the canal in Braunston and other places I’m not too sure of.

Records show that George’s parents left the canal boats and bought the grocery business right before he was born.

He may have attended the convent in Southam. He had to have had musical training because he could read music. He played piano, accordian, banjo and guitar. There was a German lady, a nun, who did teach music.

In 1934 he married Hilda Mawby of Long Lawford. The couple had five children, one of whom died at the age of 13 months. George was an electrician by trade and worked at the Lockheed factory during the war.

The couple resided in Leamington Spa until his death in December 1946. He was only 37 years of age. He had sever bronchial problems and had contracted TB earlier, which he did recover from.


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