Love and the phonograph in 1965

This story was published on May 5 in the Chichester Observer. Read the original story at]

[All images: West Sussex Record Office archives]


Romance just isn’t what it used to be – and by ‘used to be’, we mean brought about by the wonders of the phonograph.

In April, 1965, the Bognor Man’s Diary feature in the Observer ran a piece on a couple who were celebrating their diamond wedding after being brought together by the old-fashioned technology.

Mr and Mrs F. R. Hall of Grosvenor Gardens in Bognor Regis were brought together by an old-fashioned phonograph and a cylindrical record, which they thanked for their long and happy association.

It was way back in 1903 that Mr Frederick Robert Hall left his home at Walton-on-Thames and came to work on the estate of a local landowner.

At that time the phonograph was a new invention, and as the proud owner of one, Mr Hall was showing it off one night in a public house.

A man who saw the machine aske him to demonstrate it to his housekeeper, and this request eventually led to the marriage of Mr Hall and the housekeeper – who became Mrs Agnes Hall.

At the time of their diamond anniversary, both Mr and Mrs Hall were 83 years old, and when they looked back on their first meeting, they remembered another coincidence associated with their romance.

Top of the pops in those early days of recording was a song called ‘Dehliea, I Want To Steal Yer’, and it was this record that Mr Hall was demonstrating to his friends.

Some time later, on Easter Monday in 1905 – which was also the date of Mr and Mrs Hall’s wedding, Mr Hall was shaving at his lodgings in Steyne Street when he heard the sound of a roundabout organ from a nearby fairground.

The song he heard was ‘Dehliea I Want To Steal Yer.’

The couple celebrated their diamond anniversary on April 24, 1965. They had seven children – five daughters and two sons – ten grandchildren, and at that point, three great-grandchildren.

Mrs Hallcame from an old Bognor family which used to own farming land where Marshall Avenue and Hawthorn Road now are. They also had premises in Aldwick Road.

Mr and Mrs Hall’s home, Grosvenor Lodge, was built by Mr Hall and there the couple liked to talk about the past.

But, as the Observer states, ‘they also talk of the present and the future without comparing them to “the good old days”.

One of their favourite subjects to talk about was Old Bognor.

Mr and Mrs Hall said that they were ‘particularly sorry about the demolition of old St John’s Church in Market Street, where they were married 60 years ago’.

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